Canadian Doctors Want Birth Control To Be Free Because It Is A 'Human Right'

Cost has been identified as the number 1 barrier when accessing and using contraceptives.
Canadian Doctors Want Birth Control To Be Free Because It Is A 'Human Right'
Staff Writer

In order to combat the number of youth pregnancies, some doctors are now recommending Canadian governments pay for birth control. The call, issued on May 9, 2019, urges provincial, territorial, and federal health plans to cover the full cost of contraceptives. As identified by the doctors, the cost is the number one reason why woman do not use contraceptives. 

On Thursday, May 9, the Canadian Paediatric Society issued a public statement calling birth control a basic human right and therefore, it should be free. At the beginning of their statement, they say that unintended pregnancies have the ability to serial life plans, especially for youth and adolescents. It is also associated with “lower lifetime educational achievement, lower income, and increased reliance on social support programs.”

According to data collected by the society, 25% of youth who do not wish to be pregnant report that they do not use contraception every time or not at all. The society has identified cost as the single most important barrier to birth control access and use. 

In order to eliminate this barrier, the society believes that contraception should be funded through federal, territorial, and provincial health plans that will cover the entire cost of all contraceptives. Free contraception would be available to any woman 25 or under.

While the society estimates the universal contraceptive coverage would increase public spending by $157 million annually, it would save $320 million in direct medical costs related to unintended pregnancies. 

If something like this were to implemented, the society is calling for complete confidentiality for youth. This would be done by not reporting contraceptive purchases to the primary policyholder; which is typically a parent. 

Under this plan, all contraceptives would be covered. According to the statement, this would include condoms.

[rebelmouse-image 25934860 photo_credit="Screen Grab | Canadian Paediatric Society" expand=1 original_size="896x665"]

While the statement claims free contraceptives would be available until the age of 25, they did not state a minimum age. A spokesperson told the Huffington Post that doctors would refer to the “mature minor doctrine” which has rules about treating adolescents who understand the consequences of medical care and can legally consent to it. 

In April of this year, Heath Canada eliminated some of the barriers for women who wish to access the abortion pill. Women now will no longer need an ultrasound before being prescribed- eliminating their wait time.

It’s not just health officials who have stepped forward in addressing women's reproductive rights. On May 4, 2019, the Government of Canada issued a statement considering the possibility of making menstrual products free for employees.

Schools all across BC also have access to free period products, thanks to a provincial government regulation  

Stephanie Hilash
Staff Writer
Stephanie Hilash is a guest staff writer