(Canadian Press)

Pressure on Newfoundland to offer more abortion coverage

It is the only province in Canada that does not offer some coverage of Mifegymiso

Newfoundland and Labrador — said to offer among the worst access to abortion in the country — is being pressured to provide universal coverage of the abortion pill.

It is the only province in Canada that does not offer some coverage of Mifegymiso, a two-drug combination that induces an abortion up to nine weeks into a pregnancy.

Maggie O’Dea, a medical student at Memorial University in St. John’s, says students are meeting with provincial legislators this week and will sit down with the health minister, John Haggie, on Wednesday.

She says women in rural and remote communities face lengthy wait times and significant costs to access abortion services.

O’Dea, part of the university’s Medical Students Society, says universal coverage of the abortion pill would help reduce barriers to abortion care and cut costs for the province.

She says the abortion pill costs roughly $350, while a surgical abortion in hospital can cost as much as $1,500 in addition to travel and accommodation expenses.

Every other province in Canada now offers some coverage of medical abortions using pills, with costs varying depending on a patient’s income, private health benefits and other factors, to full universal coverage for all residents.

The Canadian Press