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This article was published 6/3/2019 (630 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Medical students at the University of Manitoba are pushing for the Pallister government to provide universal access to two-pill abortion drug Mifegymiso.
The group of doctors-in-training, who call themselves Medical Students for Choice, have been campaigning since November. They've drummed up about 1,000 letters of support for better access to the abortion pill and say Manitoba and Saskatchewan are the only provinces lagging behind in coverage.
"If there was universal coverage for Mifegymiso, (women) who would normally have to fly down to receive a surgical abortion will now get a medical abortion in the comfort and support network of their own communities," said U of M student Lucy Karp.
"But for some reason, that’s not what’s happening. And it’s not what’s happening because that’s what this provincial government has failed to do."
On Friday — International Women's Day — the students will set up at Fools & Horses coffee shop (379 Broadway) to gather signed letters from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m, then move over to the University of Winnipeg downtown campus from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Mifegymiso is only available for free in Winnipeg and Brandon at clinics that already offer surgical abortions. Otherwise, women need a prescription from a doctor.
In an interview Wednesday, Status of Women Minister Rochelle Squires said the pill is available across Manitoba, but noted there have been supply shortages due to issues with Mifegymiso's manufacturer.
In their letter template, addressed to Squires and Health Minister Cameron Friesen, the students lay out cost analysis from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health that found Mifegymiso cost $916 less than surgical abortions performed in hospital.
According to the Women's Health Clinic in Winnipeg, the prescription costs about $350. During the current fiscal year (April 2018 to present), the clinic provided 564 medical abortions (with Mifegymiso) and 1,501 surgical abortions.