CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Debating Access to the Birth Control Pill

Social Studies
2 lessons
To debate a significant social issue that has moral, societal and financial implications.
Students will debate the resolution: Be it resolved that all women in Canada should receive the birth control pill free of charge.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Review with the students the framework for a formal debate.

Hold a class discussion on the topic of birth control in Canada, its social and political history, and present issues associated with the use of the pill. Students can brainstorm their ideas and share their opinions. If they have done the activity Birth Control Fact Sheet, they can use it as a basis for their discussion. (If students have not done this activity, consider assigning it now.)

Outline the Opportunity

Tell students that they will be debating the resolution: Be it resolved that all women in Canada should receive the birth control pill free of charge.

Divide the class into two large groups and assign one group the affirmative side of this debate and one group the negative side of this debate. Students should review all of the clips on the topic The Birth Control Pill on the CBC Digital Archives website, taking notes to support their position.

Place two rows of desks facing one another. Number the students on each side consecutively from 1. Student 1 on the affirmative will begin with his or her most significant point, then student 1 on the negative side will do the same. In order, each student will state his or her most important point. As students speak, other students should note which points they would like to refute and rebut. For the rebuttal process, have students raise their hands and give their response when asked by you or a class moderator. Be sure that each student has the opportunity to participate and have his or her point heard.

Revisit and Reflect

Following the debate, have a class discussion on which points were the most valuable in the discussion. Decide whether it was easier to argue in the affirmative or the negative and discuss whether personal opinions played a role in this process. Discuss whether gender played a role in the debate.

Finally, as a class, determine which side has won the debate.



Students can use their researched information and the ideas shared in the debate to write a formal essay supporting the position of their choice on the topic of free access to the birth control pill.

Related Content

The Birth Control Pill

One tablet, once a day: that routine is followed by as many as 80 million women worldwide to p...

Dr. Carl Djerrasi ('mother of the pill') refl...

Dr. Djerrasi talks about his contribution to the birth control pill.

Longer interview with Dr. John Rock on the pi...

An in-depth visit with Dr. John Rock, considered the inventor of the contraceptive pill.