Wednesday, 14 January 2015
Canadian women continue to be denied a health benefit available globally. The case of politics and mifepristone
Canadian women are being denied a health benefit that is widely available in the US and Europe. Why? because for some bizarre reason, despite being on the WHO list of essential medications, despite twenty-five years of global distribution, despite fifteen years of approval and distribution in the US, despite political upheavals and protests in Australia it had been banned and now approved for use, despite all this, Canadian regulators suggest that they need “more information” before approval can be considered in Canada. See Globe and mail coverage of delayed decision on abortion pill
The Canadian regulator system tends towards precaution and conservatism and that has served Canadians well in many instances. This however should be called what it really is – blatant political interference in the regulatory process. The government will likely move to an election this year, and merely is clearing the plate of a potential ideological embarrassment if a Conservative government were to issue an approval, they stand to alienate the far right.
Shame on such political pettiness that women in Canada are continued to be denied a more comfortable and perhaps safer alternative to pregnancy termination.
Abortion evokes a variety of emotional responses that span the continuum and have entrenched camps at both extremes of the spectrum. The health ethics of abortion have long been clarified with the duty to support a client in their choice. That in Canada we would continue to utilize technologies that are antiquated and may not be as safe is astounding.
Mifepristone is not an innocuous drug. It has a very intended purpose that disrupts endocrinological responses and induces uterine endometrial degeneration, essentially mimicking processes involved in normal menstruation. Its pharmacological targeting is more appropriate than the one approved medical regime in Canada which combines the cytotoxic drug methotrexate with misoprostol which is better known for its gastric protection action than its use in obstetrical induction as a cervical ripening agent and stimulator of uterine contractions. The non-medical alternative remains the Canadian mainstay of pregnancy termination using the invasive procedure of vacuum extraction.
The technical details aside, that politics have played into what is supposed to be a non-political regulatory approval process fuels further concerns of the interference politicians have played on government scientists and silencing of their voices The Canadian muzzling of scientists October 2013 . In this case scientists should be speaking up loudly in addition to the voices of women (and men) who are being subjected to abuse by being denied a treatment alternative that ultimately leads to a higher likelihood of physical attack on their bodies.
n any other legal realm, this would be considered violence against women.