Skip to main content

Canada Pediatric society calls for access to free contraceptives for everyone under 25

The Canadian Paediatric Society is recommending Canadian governments provide access to free birth control to everyone under 25.

Rich Pedroncelli/The Associated Press

The Canadian Paediatric Society is recommending that everyone under 25 should get confidential access to free birth control.

In a position statement released Thursday, the society says access to contraception is a basic human right, and the direct costs of unintended youth pregnancies probably exceed $125-million a year.

It says contraception should be funded through provincial, territorial and federal health plans, and that private insurers should cover the full cost of birth control.

Story continues below advertisement

It also says insurers should be required to protect confidentiality by not reporting contraceptive purchases to the primary policy holder – usually a parent.

The society’s paper does not set out a minimum age for access to contraceptives, but a spokesperson pointed to the organization’s “mature minor doctrine,” which refers to rules about treating adolescents who understand the consequences of medical care and can legally consent to it.

The paper says unintended pregnancies may derail life plans, especially for young people, and ensuring women can make choices around having children gives them greater control over their bodies and future.

“Adolescent parenting is associated with lower lifetime educational achievement, lower income, and increased reliance on social support programs. Apart from the personal costs, unintended pregnancies are a costly burden for Canada’s health and social service systems,” write the paper’s authors, Giuseppina Di Meglio and Elisabeth Yorke.

The paper says more than a quarter of youth who do not want to be pregnant do not use contraceptives consistently or at all.

And it says because pharmaceutical companies report purchases to the primary policy holder, youths often pay for birth control themselves to preserve confidentiality.

In a statement provided to The Canadian Press, Ms. Di Meglio says they don’t encourage youth to hide information from their parents, but adds many young people do not feel comfortable and safe speaking with their families about sexual and reproductive health, and the society doesn’t want that to be a barrier to access.

Story continues below advertisement

“All provinces recognize the legal right of an adolescent to confidential care, provided she or he has the capacity to comprehend and consent to their care [and is older than 14 if living in Quebec]. Ensuring confidentiality – when a youth desires it – is critical to providing competent, compassionate care,” she said.

The society’s statement notes both the Canadian Medical Association and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada have proposed that government health-care plans cover the full costs of all contraceptives for all women.

The estimated $157-million cost of such a program would far outweigh the $320-million saved in direct medical costs from unintended pregnancies, the pediatric society says.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter