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It has been a long road, but the abortion pill is now available in Waterloo Region. The abortion pill can be prescribed by a family doctor or a nurse practitioner, making it more accessible for people living in remote, rural or Northern areas of Canada who may have difficulties accessing a clinic or hospital. Unlike most communities, we are privileged to have in clinic abortion services available up to 14 weeks of pregnancy at Grand River Hospital and clinics within an hour’s drive that provide abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The abortion pill is covered by OHIP and is available in the region up to 9 weeks of pregnancy. The abortion pill, which is actually 5 pills called Mifegymiso, works by blocking progesterone, which sustains a pregnancy, and causing uterine contractions. This process is similar to an early miscarriage.

Although the abortion pill is legal, approved and available, very few health care providers are prescribing it. Although abortions have been legal for decades, many people still do not agree with the human and reproductive rights of a person to do with their body what is best for them. Considerable stigma exists around abortion, including stigma around providing abortions, which are safe medical procedures.

Each person has their own, very personal reason for choosing to have an abortion. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, and no reason should be considered better than another. No one should be forced to be pregnant if they do not want to be. No one should be forced to go through labour if they do not want to and no one should be forced into being a parent or placing a child for adoption. If we do not have autonomy over our own bodies, what do we have?

I often hear people saying they are pro-choice and then adding a “but.” For example “I’m pro-choice but abortion should not be used as birth control.” “I’m pro-choice but there should be a limit to the number of abortions a person has.” “I’m pro-choice but I do not think taxpayers should have to pay for someone’s abortion.” There should be no “but” in pro-choice.

You must trust that people are making the best decisions they can with the circumstances they find themselves in. Whether or not the abortion pill will change the way people view abortions in Canada is yet to be seen, however, it will make the process easier and more accessible for many people.

I spoke with Kayla Orr, Client Support Coordinator at Sexual Health Options, Resources & Education (SHORE) Centre, who works tirelessly to ensure our community has access to, and information about, abortion services. She is currently working with Onyx Urgent Care and a local family physician to create a network of support for other health care professionals interested in becoming providers of Mifegymiso.

If you are looking for more information about becoming a provider or are pregnant and want to discuss your options you can contact Kayla by calling 519-743-9360 or emailing options@shorecentre.ca.