OTTAWA, November 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Canadian government is expanding access to the abortion pill, including allowing the drug for abortions of children in utero of up to nine weeks gestation, and allowing pharmacists to dispense it directly, rather than requiring doctors to do so.
Health Canada made its decision based on evidence submitted by the drug’s sponsor, Linepharma, according to an information update the department released Tuesday.
Linepharma is represented in Canada by Celopharma.
Health Canada says it also undertook a “thorough review of new and existing scientific literature on the safe use and effectiveness of Mifegymiso.”
It has authorized the following:
- Mifegymiso can now be prescribed up to nine weeks (63 days) into a pregnancy, rather than the previous limit of seven weeks (49 days).
- Mifegymiso can now be dispensed directly to patients by a pharmacist or a prescribing health professional.
- Health professionals are no longer required to complete an education program before they can prescribe Mifegymiso.
- The requirement for written patient consent to use Mifegymiso is being removed.
- Health professionals will no longer be required to register with Celopharma in order to prescribe or dispense Mifegymiso.
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, a recent merger of Canadian pro-abortion groups including Planned Parenthood, lauded the change, claiming it was the result of activism and lobbying.
— Action Canada (@action_canada) November 7, 2017
But Campaign Life Coalition, the nation’s leading pro-life group, swiftly denounced the decision.
— CampgnLifeCoalition (@CampaignLife) November 7, 2017
“This is a cavalier response to women’s health. Accessibility and affordability shouldn’t come before the safety of Canadian women,” said Marie-Claire Bissonnette, CLC youth coordinator.
“The organizations that lobby for lower safeguards don’t care about the repercussions of their requests,” she told LifeSiteNews.
“Mifegymiso is not a magical pill that liberates every women from a patriarchal society. It’s an actual drug with actual side effects and many women have died from it.”
Health Canada approved Mifegymiso, or RU 486, in August 2015, and it has been available since January 2017.
The two-drug combination includes Mifepristone, which blocks progesterone and essentially starves the baby to death in utero, and Misoprostol, which is taken 24 to 48 hours later and induces labor to expel the dead baby.
Alberta, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia have since announced they are offering the abortion drug for free.
Pro-life groups have long warned the abortion pill is not only deadly for the child in utero, but dangerous for the mother.
Indeed, when Health Canada approved RU-486 in August 2015 for abortions up to seven weeks, it stated the two-drug combination was a risk to women, noting: “Rare cases of fatalities were reported.”
Under lobbying from pharmacy groups, pro-abortion groups and some doctors, Health Canada dropped its requirement a doctor supervise women who take the abortion pill because of the risk of internal bleeding, LifeSiteNews reported in March 2017.
Bissonnette, who launched an educational campaign #RU486RUCrazy in April 2017 documenting the dangers of the drug, says Health Canada’s lowered standards means an increased risk to women.
“By no longer requiring health professionals to register with Celopharma, the government is relinquishing statistical information that can be used to monitor the effects [the abortion drug] has on women and therefore is relinquishing tools to properly protect them,” she told LifeSiteNews.
“This replaces a surgical procedure. These are chemicals strong enough to kill a child in the womb. It’s not an aspirin,” she said.
“Health Canada put these safeguards in effect for a reason. They didn’t have an anti-abortion agenda,” added Bissonnette.
“They wanted to minimize the damage this drug could cause women. Now Canada’s safeguards are considered some of the lowest in the world.”
A U.S. FDA risk assessment report gathered data on 1.5 million women from September 2000 to April 2011 who used Mifepristone, or RU-486.
It documented 2,207 reported cases of “adverse events” from the abortion drug, including 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 58 ectopic pregnancies, 339 cases of blood loss requiring transfusions, and 256 cases of infections, of which 48 cases were considered severe.