Women in Nova Scotia can now make an appointment to terminate a pregnancy by calling a phone line, without having to wait to see a doctor.
The toll-free line is in service at 1-833-352-0719 starting Monday, February 5th.
By calling this number, women planning to terminate their pregnancy will be able to obtain information and make an appointment for an abortion and for medical tests related to the procedure.
Staff will answer the phone from 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours, the person is asked to leave a message and a nurse or attendant will contact them.
This is a response to a need in Nova Scotia where the shortage of doctors means that many people do not have access to a family doctor.
In the past year, voices have been voiced about the slowness of the system and the many obstacles that would make Nova Scotia one of the provinces with the most limited access to abortion.
Accessing the service in a reasonable time is in women’s best interest, says Kim Munroe, Director of Ambulatory Services at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Halifax.
“We talked to a lot of women who had to wait two, three or four more weeks,” she complains, hence the need for this phone line.
Eliminating the requirement to see a doctor “will help women of all ages, from all regions of the province,” says Munroe.
“We do not anticipate an increase in abortion claims in the province,” she says. “We want to reduce the barriers for women”.
The Abortion Pill out of reach for most women in Nova Scotia
Health Canada’s approval of Mifegymiso, a combination of drugs that can terminate a pregnancy without a surgical procedure for up to 63 days after conception, is also supposed to improve women’s access to abortion.
In recent weeks, voices have been raised to denounce the difficulty of being prescribed the drug in Nova Scotia . There is still no specific Mifegymiso billing code for Nova Scotia physicians, which is why most of them do not offer it.