VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There are growing calls for birth control to be free for everyone in Canada, and advocates claim it would actually save the government money long term.
On Thursday, the Canadian Pediatric Society recommended everyone under the age of 25 get access to free contraception, arguing the costs of unintended youth pregnancies probably exceeds $125 million a year.
Going a step further, B.C.’s Options for Sexual Health says it should just be free for everyone.
“Costs should not be a barrier to people looking after themselves and deciding when to have children,” the group’s executive director, Michelle Fortin, says.
She adds the organization has been pushing the province to make birth control free “for the past decade,” and lays blame for inaction on the previous government.
“I also think that we had a government in power for a very long time that wasn’t necessarily looking at women’s health or the health of folks that might need contraception as quickly as I hope this government is.”
Free birth control for everyone. @optbc is making the case, saying it would save gov'ts money down the line.
It's a step further than @CanPaedSociety call for free contraception for everyone under 25, saying unintended youth pregnancies probably exceed $125 million a year.
— Monika Gul (@MonikaGul) May 10, 2019
Fortin notes Options for Sexual Health has been working with B.C. Women’s Hospital and the Women’s Health Research Institute to press the province, “to try and get the B.C. government to recognize that investing in contraception would actually save money down the line because of unwanted pregnancies.”
The group has also been pushing for an IUD roll out, citing it was “supposed” to happen this year, but hasn’t so far.
Fortin also notes it’s important to give people choices.
“There’s not just one birth control pill, there’s not just one Depo-shot, there’s not just one form of IUD, or even types of condoms,” she explains. “So for us it’s about making sure that you’re aware of all of the possible options around contraception, and providing those so that a woman — or a person who has a uterus — can make the best decision for themselves.”
The calls come on the heels of an anti-abortion rally at the B.C. legislature.
-With files from Sonia Aslam