2022 Election Press Release
Doctors and reproductive health advocates call for universal, no-cost contraception in upcoming provincial election
TORONTO – Today, the Cover ContraceptiON campaign was invited by the Ontario New Democratic Party to speak about the importance of universal, no-cost contraception for all people in Ontario. The Cover ContraceptiON campaign applauds the Ontario New Democratic Party’s commitment to fully cover prescription contraception under OHIP if elected on June 2nd.
Canada is the only country in the world with universal healthcare, yet no national pharmacare strategy. Lack of access to pharmacare prevents people in Ontario from accessing essential medications, including contraception (the pill, intrauterine devices (IUD), implants, shots, patches, and rings).
Contraception offers numerous health benefits including but not limited to: preventing pregnancy, improving symptoms of painful and heavy periods, decreasing postmenopausal symptoms, improving acne, lowering the risk of ovarian, endometrial, and colorectal cancer, and alleviating symptoms of endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (the latter is estimated to affect 1.4 million Canadian women). Despite these benefits, contraception is inaccessible to the majority of people in Ontario.
“We know that cost is the single greatest barrier to contraceptive access in Ontario. We know that universal coverage improves access to contraception and confers significant savings in downstream medical costs. We know that inaction further marginalizes our most vulnerable populations,” said Drs. Hava Starkman and Nour Bakhache, CoverContraceptiON co-chairs and Resident Physicians in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Currently, an intrauterine device (IUD) can cost $75 to $380, oral contraceptive pills can cost $20 per month, and hormone injections as much as $180 per year. These costs are a significant barrier to accessing contraception for many people across Canada, and fall particularly on women and people who can get pregnant.
“Access to timely, affordable contraception is a pillar of reproductive human rights,” said Drs. Hava Starkman and Nour Bakhache. “We see these impacts first hand; in the lives of our patients that cannot access care. The cost of contraception prevents them from getting necessary medical support and is detrimental to their quality of life.”
The reproductive health needs of our population are urgent and growing. Ontario must step forward to champion the reproductive rights, health, and autonomy of its peoples and implement universal, no-cost contraception coverage for all. The time to act is now.
About Us: Cover ContraceptiON is a grassroots, non-partisan, volunteer-run campaign with the goal of providing universal, no-cost contraception to all people in Ontario. The Cover ContraceptiON campaign started at the beginning of the pandemic, when a group of frontline physicians at the University of Toronto recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic was intensifying pre-existing inequities among marginalized populations – those of low socioeconomic status, cultural minorities, Black and Indigenous peoples and residents of rural communities. The time to act in Ontario is now.
Image credit - AccessBC Contraception Campaign