International Women's Day 2023
CoverContraceptiON supports motion to include universal, no-cost contraception in next provincial budget
TORONTO – Today in honour of International Women's Day, the Cover ContraceptiON campaign was invited by the Ontario New Democratic Party's MPPs Jennie Stevens & Jill Andrews to Queen's Park to speak about the importance of universal, no-cost contraception for all people in Ontario. We thank the New Democratic Party for their leadership bringing forward the important motion to fund prescription contraception for all people in Ontario in the upcoming provincial budget.
Following the British Columbia government's leadership, we call on the Ontario government to follow their footsteps to fully cover prescription contraception. We look forward to engaging with all political parties, Minister of Health Sylvia Jones, and the Ontario government to make this cost-saving initiative a reality in Ontario.
Studies have found that one in five Canadian women have had an unplanned pregnancy. Unplanned pregnancies have significant downstream effects which disproportionately affect people with uteruses, including limiting socioeconomic and educational opportunities. In addition to preventing pregnancy, contraception offers numerous health benefits including but not limited to: improving symptoms of painful and heavy periods, improving acne, lowering the risk of ovarian, endometrial, and colorectal cancer, and alleviating symptoms of endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Despite these benefits, contraception is inaccessible to the majority of people in Ontario.
Cost is the number one barrier to access contraception, and the burden falls disproportionately on individuals with uteruses. The most reliable methods of contraception, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), are the most expensive options and can cost between $75 and $380 upfront. Alternative methods are less reliable and accrue cumulative cost: $20 monthly for oral contraceptive pills, and up to $180 yearly for hormone injection. Coverage is sporadic for Ontario residents, and programs are largely income-dependent. Meanwhile, there are millions of dollars of direct and indirect cost savings for the healthcare system by implementing universal contraception. Universal coverage of contraception empowers people and promotes equality, leads to better health outcomes, and contributes to significant public health savings.
Dr. Hava Starkman, CoverContraceptiON Co-Chair states, "We strongly believe that access to timely, affordable contraception is a pillar of reproductive human rights - a sentiment echoed across Canada as British Columbia takes the lead. Universal access to contraception is good social policy, good economic policy, and good public health policy."
On International Women's Day, we amplify our calls to the Ontario government 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.
Looking for a way to support the cause? Write to your MPP with a single click here: http://bit.ly/ContraceptionMPP
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.
For further information, please contact: Drs. Nour Bakhache and Dr. Hava Starkman, Campaign Chairs, at covercontraceptionON@gmail.com and Dr. Mary Boulos, Communications Lead, at firstname.lastname@example.org