Canadian medical students demand free and universal access to contraception

Medical students across Canada are calling on the federal government to make birth control free and universally available to everyone.

In Canada, it is up to provincial governments to determine which medical needs are covered by insurance, including contraception. But coverage varies from province to province, and contraception is often not included in provincial or private health insurance plans.

That is why the Canadian Federation of Medical Students is calling on the federal government to intervene.

A lack of access to contraception can be costly for families and for the government: according to a study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2015, unplanned pregnancies in Canada lead to direct health care costs of up to $320 million dollars annually.

“An unplanned pregnancy can disrupt the lives of many Canadians and contribute to a cycle of adverse experiences due to interrupted education and unforeseen costs,” said Davy Lau, a second-year medical student at the ‘University of British Columbia. , Told On the coast host Gloria Macarenko.

“As medical students who work in clinics and hospitals, we see this very often.”

The federation says it wants the government to sponsor public education campaigns on contraception and ensure that people across Canada have access to this information and understand what type of contraception is right for them.

The federation also hopes to see changes to the process of obtaining prescription contraceptives, saying it would like other healthcare professionals such as registered nurses, pharmacists and midwives to be able to write prescriptions and offer advice on contraceptive methods. This helps facilitate access to contraception, they said, especially for those without a family doctor.

The federation also wants all forms of contraception to be subsidized and free. A single intrauterine device, or IUD, for example, can cost $350.

Copper IUDs can be expensive, so the Canadian Federation of Medical Students is calling on the federal government to make contraception more accessible in all provinces. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

“Not all forms of birth control are available to all Canadians and different cultures will have different views on birth control and prefer different birth control methods,” Lau said.

“That’s why it’s important that universal contraceptive coverage includes all types of contraception available.”

The federal Department of Health agrees that all Canadians, wherever they are, should have access to “sexual and reproductive health resources.”

But when asked if he would consider making contraception more widely available, they said those decisions were up to provincial authorities.

“However, the government is committed to ensuring that Canadians have access to the full range of reproductive services and medications across the country,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

But Nadia Boukina, a first-year medical student at the University of British Columbia, points out that Canada’s health care system is based on the Canada Health Act, legislation on state-funded health insurance.

The law covers five criteria: public administration, comprehensiveness, portability, accessibility and universality. When it comes to contraception, these criteria are not met, says Boukina.

“I believe contraception is a human right,” Boukina said.

“I firmly believe that all Canadians deserve to have universal access to free contraception.”

On the coast6:57Medical students advocate for contraception

The Canadian Federation of Medical Students came together for a National Day of Action in Ottawa. They call on the government to fund universal access to contraception. We discuss their demands with UBC medical students Davy Lau and Nadia Boukina.