EDMONTON – Alberta has become the latest province to cover the cost of a medical abortion pill.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says Mifegymiso is now available for any woman in the province who requests it.
Hoffman says providing universal coverage will give women greater choice when it comes to their reproductive health.
She says it will help women who live in rural areas who have had to travel to urban centres for surgical abortions.
The province says the pill may be used to terminate a pregnancy of up to 49 days.
Before taking the drug, women must undergo an ultrasound to rule out potential health risks and to determine the age of gestation.
“Women’s reproductive options should not be determined by their income or where they live,” Hoffman said Monday in a release.
New Brunswick became the first province to provide universal coverage of the abortion pill earlier this month.
Quebec and Ontario have indicated they plan to follow suit.
The Manitoba government has said it will cover the cost of the abortion pill in areas where health-care facilities already provide the surgical procedure.
Mifegymiso, a two-drug combination also known as RU-486, was authorized by Health Canada in July 2015 and entered the market in January.
It costs about $300.
The group Friends of Medicare applauded the Alberta government’s decision.
“This is a great step to take to improve access to reproductive health care,” said Sandra Azocar, the group’s executive director.
“We are hoping to hear plans to have providers appropriately trained on prescribing the pill, and ensuring that women using Mifegymiso in all communities have the proper supports during treatment.”