Access to contraception is a key issue facing the women and girls of our societies today. Currently, contraceptive options such as oral pills, hormonal injections or IUDs can cost upwards of several hundred dollars per year for a woman in Canada; cost is the single most significant hindrance for users. Access can be especially limited for populations that face additional barriers, including, but not limited to: adolescents, cultural minorities, Indigenous peoples, rural communities and those of lower socioeconomic status.
Reproductive choice is an imperative component of furthering our fight towards achieving gender equality. The United Nations recognizes access to contraception as a basic human right, and is an integral component of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. It is disheartening that our nation currently falls behind these global standards.
Considering the current window of opportunity with national Pharmacare reforms, our nation is positioned to take a step forward in furthering reproductive rights of women and girls. Universal access to contraception will diminish individual access barriers and result in significant cost savings for our health-care system (e.g. unplanned pregnancies). It is necessary that Canada makes a statement in promoting women’s reproductive health and empowerment by providing federally sponsored universal coverage to contraception.
Maria Leis, medical student, University of Toronto