Currently surgical abortions are performed in the two major centres of Regina (up to 16-18 weeks) and Saskatoon (up to 12 weeks) (see below).
Medical abortions are theoretically more accessible as Nurse Practitioners can prescribe Mifegymiso (an antihormonal medication consisting of two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol ), but many Saskatchewan pharmacies do not carry the drug due to cost and supply difficulties. Mifegymiso is easier to find in Saskatoon and Regina, but may be available in some smaller centres as well.
Article: “Abortion drug Mifegymiso difficult to find at Saskatchewan pharmacies.” The Canadian Press. April 22, 2019.
Update – June, 2019: Access to Mifegymiso may soon increase due to universal coverage in Saskatchewan. Will keep updated in the “News” section.
- Medical Abortions:
- A medical termination that is caused by taking medications that cause the body to pass the pregnancy tissue on its own. There are two different medications available: methotrexate and mifepristone, and a medication misoprostol completes the process.
- This is available up to no more than 63 days along in the pregnancy. There may be follow-up needed to ensure the abortion is complete.
- This option is less invasive and can occur as soon as there is a positive pregnancy test.
- There is a 4-15% chance the abortion will not be effective or complete and a surgical procedure will be needed. It takes at least 1 week to complete, and there may be some medication side effects.
Surgical Abortion Options in Saskatchewan:
Any pregnant person may self-refer to the Women’s Health Centre at Regina General Hospital up to and including the 16 week mark.
The steps to the surgical abortion in Regina:
- An ultrasound to confirm how far along into the pregnancy
- An appointment for a Nurse Counsel, sometimes an appointment with the Medical Social Worker.
- Part 1 of procedure day: Meet and discuss your decision, the procedure, birth control options, medical history, and may insert a laminario (a small stick of compressed seaweek that slowly softens and opens the cervix) or give a medication call misprostol.
- Part 2: under local anesthetic to the cervix and with intravenous medications, a suction D&C (dilitation and curettage) occurs which means removal of the uterine lining. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes in total. Recovery after is about 1 hour before being discharged.
- Aftercare: There may be period-like cramping and bleeding for 3 to 10 days.
- Coping: There may be a mixture of feelings that may include relief and sadness or anger that the pregnancy occurred at the wrong time. There is a Medical Social Worker available for post-abortion counselling.Complete information is available at the Regina Women’s Health Centre Abortion Services website
The steps for a surgical abortion in Saskatoon:
- Must get a referral to get a surgical abortion must be done through the Saskatoon Sexual Health Centre (306-244-7989) or a pro-choice doctor at the Saskatoon Community Clinic and College Park Medical Clinic.
- An ultrasound is done to determine the length of the pregnancy, which cannot be more than 12 weeks.
- An appointment must be booked at City Hospital, usually through telephone calls that the patient must make.
- The same-day surgery occurs under general anaesthesia, where the cervix is stretched and tissues are removed using a suction device