Thursday, 6th of july, Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette announced that ”the abortion pill will be available to Quebec residents for free by the end of autumn 2017”.
“The government of Quebec has always been supportive towards the right of women to choose, particularly in regards to abortion,” said Barrette.
“The abortion pill is an additional option, among the methods for infancy control, that has certain advantages for women.”
Women who are up to seven weeks pregnant will be able to get the drug, Mifegymiso or RU-486, which is a two-medication package, through the province’s health insurance plan, RAMQ.
Currently, only Manitoba offers the drug for free. Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick have committed to do the same, but are still working out how to make the drug available and who can prescribe it.
As this as been a major issue that is to be sort out before the commencement of the drug’s administration, the Quebec College of Physicians is still finalizing how the drug will be given, the details of which Barrette says will be ready soon.
An ultrasound will be mandatory!, Barrette said.
“The drug cannot be administered and will never be administered if there isn’t proof that the pregnancy is under 49 days of duration. It has to be dated, in all circumstances,” the minister said.
Women will need a prescription to access the drug, but doctors cannot be forced to prescribe the drug, Barrette said.
The cost of RU-486 varies, but usually is around $300, the price set by the manufacturer, Celopharma.
“We would have gone forward with this decision even if the price was on average a higher cost than the regular surgical procedure. We would have gone forward because we believe, again, that women in this province do have a choice and this is a choice,” said Barrette.
Quebec’s Health Ministry recently negotiated a bulk price for the drug with the manufacturer on behalf of all provinces but would not reveal the price when asked by CBC News, citing confidentiality.