The abortion pill will finally be available in Japan, after the drug used to end early-stage pregnancies was approved by the health ministry.
The abortion pill, also known as medical abortion, is a method of terminating a pregnancy using medication. It is typically a combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol.
Abortion is authorized in Japan up to 22 weeks, but normally requires the approval of a husband or partner, and up until now, the only choice was a surgical procedure.
On Friday, April 28, the government informed healthcare professionals that it had approved the medication produced by the British pharmaceutical company Linepharma.
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The pharmaceutical company submitted its two-step mifepristone and misoprostol therapy for approval in Japan in December 2021.
The ministry panel’s approval of the pill to terminate pregnancies up to nine weeks was delayed for a month while thousands of public comments were submitted.
According to national broadcaster NHK, the abortion pill and a doctor’s visit would cost about 100,000 yen ($700). Public health insurance does not provide coverage for abortions.
Meanwhile, surgical abortions might cost between 100,000 and 200,000 yen.
The morning-after pill, which prevents pregnancy, is being pushed for better access by campaigners in Japan.
In Japan, emergency contraception is currently unavailable without a doctor’s prescription. In order to prevent it from being sold on the black market, it is also the sole medication that must be taken in front of a pharmacist.
Prior to Japan, the legality of abortion and access to abortion services had already been available to different countries such as the United States, Canada, most countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the Scandinavian countries, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and some other African countries, India and Israel.
However, it’s important to note that even in countries where the abortion pill is legal, there may be restrictions or requirements for accessing it.
For example, in some countries, it may only be available through a prescription from a doctor or at a licensed clinic, and there may be waiting periods or counseling requirements.
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