As a resident of Saskatchewan, I am thankful that I’m able to have safe and legal access to exercise my reproductive rights. However, the current decisions in Alabama and Georgia to outlaw abortions has shook me to the core. It has shown how easily the rights of women can be taken away.
In Saskatchewan, 80% of residents are pro-choice and agree that there should be access to safe abortions. This silent majority has implied that it will vote in the way to ensure that abortions stay legal and are accessible and safe. Currently, Saskatoon and Regina are the only two locations that a surgical abortion can be carried out. In Saskatoon, the process to have an abortion is complicated and cumbersome with several unnecessary steps in order to navigate the system. Some people will opt to go to Alberta or Regina because it is easier to access a surgical abortions.
On October 18, 2018, Nurse Practitioners were given the authority to prescribe the Mifegymiso to perform a medical abortion. However, very few pharmacies carry the drugs because of the cost and supply issues. This makes accessibility difficult in rural and isolated areas of the province. Saskatchewan is one of only three provinces that does not cover the cost of Mifegymiso, which has a direct result in limiting access to rural and isolated communities. It ends up that people still need to travel to Saskatoon or Regina to access the drugs.
The Saskatchewan government can take several actions to support increased access to abortion in Saskatchewan:
- Make Saskatoon more accessible in terms of the process to have a surgical abortion;
- Support rural areas to set up transportation or other support to assist a person who would like to access a surgical abortion to get to Saskatoon or Regina to get a surgical abortion;
- Support health regions to make surgical abortion possible in other locations, especially in Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, North Battleford and Yorkton
- Cover the cost of Mifegymiso in order to increase supply and accessibility of the drug in rural and isolated areas; and
- Support the Canadian government so keep abortion safe, legal and accessible.
By keeping abortions legal and increasing accessibility, you are creating a safer process for a person to get an abortion. It can save lives, and create a healthier, safer, happier province.
Thank you for your consideration and action!
[Member of Saskatchewan Pro-Choice Network]