Wednesday, January 29, 2014

RU-4Choice? : Ethical Abortion

In November last year, MP Libby Davies asked Deputy Health Minister George Da Pont why Canada has not joined 57 other countries in making RU-486, the medical abortion pill for use within the first two months of pregnancy, available in Canada despite a strong recent endorsement editorial from the Canadian Medical Association Journal. 

Indeed. It's been legal elsewhere for decades.

As the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommended in March 2003 ten freakin' years ago :
"The use of such medication for terminating early pregnancy constitutes a significant medical and public health gain and has achieved medical acceptability in Europe and the USA.
The SOGC urges Health Canada to work with professional organizations and industry to make this product available to Canadian women."
An article at the US National Institute of Health (NIH) looks into why mifepristone (RU-486) remains unapproved in Canada and concludes the reasons are both financial and political.
First, the drug approval process can only be initiated by an application from a pharmaceutical company.
"In Canada, it is predicted that revenues will be moderate because of cost controls and will not offset high regulatory approval costs ... due to abortifacient medicines' relatively infrequent use."
"Health Canada also has procedures for priority review and approval of critical new drugs and breakthrough therapies. To obtain priority status, however, the drug must be intended for life-threatening or other serious conditions."
"Life-threatening", as it happens, is the criteria the more *moderate* among the anti-choicers insist upon as a necessary condition for a woman to be permitted an abortion at all.

The NIH article also cites a history of reluctance on the part of Health Canada to approve any reproductive health medicines :
"11 of 12 contraceptive products approved for use in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia in the preceding decade were unavailable in Canada 'either because of Health Canada's stricter requirements or because they are held up in the Canadian regulatory process.' "

So in the parlance of the Cons, we can either stand with those countries which recognize a woman's right to the "gold standard" in reproductive healthcare, or we can stand with Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Korea, Myanmar, and most of Africa and South America.

Ethical Abortion, baby.

h/t  Fern Hill and deBeauxOs at Dammit Janet


Angus Kim said...

In many issues such as these, isn't it prudent for Health Canada to study the side-effects of these chemicals on women? This drug is designed to affect a very complicated part of a women's body, affecting many hormones, uterine lining and of course, the fetus itself. I mean many countries have pipelines running around in their countries and you don't see Canada immediately joining the countries in building the pipelines. There are tons of environmental reviews... Patience is a virtue. Better safe than sorry...

Tim Zong said...

Don't you think it is ironic that you are using a fetus to voice your pro-abortion message? I mean, it is you people who consider this fetus as a piece of tissue....

Alison said...

Angus : Patience is a virtue ; stalling for 25 years is negligence.

Tim : Ironic? No, just a wanted fetus looking forward to having a life in which she will not be subjected to undergoing any version of a forced birth.
Sovereignty over our own bodies means not being treated like pieces of tissue ourselves.

Jon Dykstra said...

"...she will not be subjected to undergoing any version of a forced birth"

No that's wrong. If this fetus is subjected to RU-486 she will indeed be forced out of the place of safety she is in now, her mother's womb.

Being a mom has always come with restrictions - a mother of a two year old will be "forced" to feed, clean and care for it, or face charges of child-neglect. So some restrictions - like caring for and not killing your children - are reasonable restrictions that come with being a parent. No one is free to do whatever they want.

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