All birth control measures and contraceptives should be free for Canadians 24-years-old and under, according to the Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS).

According to the society, universal free contraceptives would improve the lives of youth and actually save the country money in reduced health care costs and concerns related to unintended pregnancies.

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“Unintended pregnancies may derail life plans, particularly for adolescents and young adults,” said the CPS in a statement. “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.”

According to the CPS, over 50,000 unplanned pregnancies a year occur among Canadians who are under 25-years-old, and over 25% of those youth who do intend to become pregnant do not use contraceptives consistently.

Research compiled by the society suggests that introducing free contraceptives would dramatically lower the number of youth who do not use birth control as cost can be a barrier.

Moreover, the CPS believes that the cost of free birth control could easily be met by the current health care costs related to unintended pregnancies, which exceeds $125 million per year.

Confidentiality a key recommendation

While making contraceptives free is a key recommendation, the Canadian Paediatric Society also suggests ensuring that youth can access the supplies completely confidentiality.

The confidentiality would significantly encourage use among youth who may avoid contraceptives out of fear of judgement from family or friends.

“Dependent youth who wish to access contraception confidentially face an additional barrier,” said the CPS.

“When they access private pharmaceutical coverage, a report is made available to the primary policy holder (usually a parent). Thus, youth must often pay out-of-pocket for contraception to preserve confidentiality, despite having access to pharmaceutical insurance.”

The CPU’s full statement can be found online here, Universal access to no-cost contraception for youth in Canada.