Medication abortion in Canada: a right-to-health perspective

Am J Public Health. 2008 Oct;98(10):1764-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.134684. Epub 2008 Aug 13.


The right to health under the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, to which Canada is a signatory, entitles women to available, accessible, and acceptable abortion care. Abortion care in Canada currently fails this standard. Medication abortion (the use of drugs to terminate a pregnancy) could improve abortion care in Canada, but its potential remains unrealized. This is in part attributable to the unavailability of mifepristone, the safest and most effective pharmaceutical for medication abortion. Given that it could improve abortion care, we investigated why mifepristone remains unapproved in Canada, whether its unavailability is attributable to government inaction, and whether Canada is therefore failing to fulfill its obligations under the right to health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal* / supply & distribution
  • Abortion, Legal / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Abortion, Legal / methods*
  • Abortion, Legal / psychology
  • Abortion, Legal / standards
  • Canada
  • Choice Behavior
  • Drug Approval / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Services Accessibility / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Mifepristone* / supply & distribution
  • Motivation
  • National Health Programs / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Rights / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Politics
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prejudice
  • Reproductive Rights / legislation & jurisprudence*


  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal
  • Mifepristone