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My Body, My Choice: Or is It? The Importance of Renewed Feminist Activism to Altering Canadian Abortion Laws to Legalize Pharmaceutical Abortion

By Grace Charbonneau*
Access the full document here (32 pages, PDF) 

Abstract: Prior to the end of July 2015, pharmaceutical abortion involving RU-486 (mifepristone) was only available in Canada if a physician submitted a request to administer the drugs involved (mifepristone and misoprostol) in this abortion process. Despite the fact that pharmaceutical abortion and the main medication used (RU-486) was patented in France in the late 1980s and has undergone numerous drug trials in various countries to prove both safety and efficacy, Canada remained years behind in legalizing this important medication. This research paper examines the barriers that women faced in obtaining a pharmaceutical abortion during the period RU-486 was under review by Health Canada, explores the historical developments of abortion in Canada, and ultimately argues for the legalization of this abortion method through a revitalization of the women’s health movement. While pharmaceutical abortion is now legal, it will take awhile for the medications to be made readily available to Canadian women seeking abortions. As a result, until the manufacturing and distribution process is complete, Canadian women may face many of the same barriers examined within this research paper.

*Grace Charbonneau earned an M.A. in Women's Studies & Feminist Research at the University of Western Ontario in 2015. This Independent Research Project (IRP) formed part of her scholastic requirements.

ARCC is pleased to host this IRP on our website.