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Abortion pill approved in Canada for use across the country

TORONTO -- Canadian authorities have approved the abortion pill known as RU-486 for use across the country.

Canada's health ministry said this week that the drug, also referred to as mifepristone, will be available to women who obtain a prescription from a doctor.

The drug will be sold under the brand name Mifegymiso. It blocks the production of the hormone progesterone, needed to sustain a pregnancy, and prompts the uterus to contract and expel the placenta and the fetus. Studies have shown that it can be used safely as late as 70 days into a pregnancy.

Officials have reviewing the drug for approval since 2012.

The approval brings Canada into line with nearly 60 countries where the drug has long been legal, including the United States, Australia and most of Europe.