N.B. to provide universal access to abortion pill

New Brunswick says it will make the abortion pill Mifegymiso available free of charge to all women.

Health Minister Victor Boudreau said Tuesday that government will introduce a program in the coming months to ensure any woman who has a valid Medicare card will be eligible to receive the drug.

"Your government has eliminated barriers to reproductive health that were in place for three decades, and is committed to doing more," Boudreau said in a statement. "By making Mifegymiso available free of charge for all New Brunswick women, our government is ensuring that financial barriers do not stand in the way of a woman's right to choose."

The pill, which was authorized by Health Canada in July 2015 and became available on the market in January, is for the medical termination of a pregnancy up to 49 days.

The drug must be prescribed by a physician who has completed a training course and is registered with the manufacturer, and an ultrasound is required to confirm the gestational age.

"As Mifegymiso becomes more widely available throughout the country and New Brunswick, we commit to working with physicians, as well as pharmaceutical distributors, to ensure timely and universal coverage for all New Brunswick women," said Boudreau.