Mifepristone outcomes study: Examining abortion access, outcomes, and costs following the introduction of mifepristone

Abortion is a common reproductive health procedure, with nearly one-third of women in Canada having had at least one abortion. However, abortion access is not equitable. Most abortions are surgical, and are provided in a small number of facilities located in BC’s largest cities. Some women, particularly those in rural or remote regions, experience significant wait times and must travel long distances to reach abortion services.

The medical abortion drug mifepristone became available in BC in 2017. Mifepristone can be provided in primary care and is a safe and effective alternative to travelling to large centres for surgical abortion, enabling abortion to occur at earlier (and therefore safer) gestations. Mifepristone medical abortion delivered in primary care has the potential to improve equity for abortion access and outcomes in BC, while reducing pressure on surgical services.

Dr. Schummers’ research will centre on a population-based cohort study using BC linked health administrative data to understand abortion access, outcomes, and costs before and after mifepristone became available.

The results of this study will inform knowledge users and health policy-makers about the effect of mifepristone medical abortion delivered in primary care on abortion service access, outcomes, distribution, and costs.