PEI

P.E.I. abortion rights group planning to lobby for free birth control for all Islanders

P.E.I.'s Abortion Rights Network says it plans to lobby the new Progressive Conservative government to make birth control free for all Islanders. 

'You will pay for it at some point regardless ... so this is a preventative measure'

The P.E.I. Abortion Rights Network says providing free birth control to women under 25 will save the province money in the long run. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

P.E.I.'s Abortion Rights Network says it plans to lobby the new Progressive Conservative government to make birth control free for all Islanders. 

The Canadian Paediatric Society released a position statement Thursday, saying birth control pills, condoms, and other contraceptives should be available at no cost to Canadians 25 and under. It cited cost and the process of having to purchase contraceptives as barriers to young people using them.

"We certainly see that people who are experiencing poverty have the most limited set of options available to them," said Jillian Kilfoil, a member of the P.E.I. Abortion Rights Network. 

Barriers to birth control among young people can have severe consequences, Kilfoil said. 

"When we limit the option that women have, they may end up having unwanted pregnancies, or may end up in situations where they aren't able to protect themselves from a reality that doesn't fit with what they need or want at that time."

P.E.I.'s Abortion Rights Network maintains birth control should be free to all Islanders, not just those 25 and under, as the Canadian Paediatric Society recommended this week. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Cost effective in the long-run

While there would obviously be a cost to taxpayers, Kilfoil said, the province would save money in the long run.

Making birth control free would cut down on the costs of providing abortions and demands on social services, she said.

"You will pay for it at some point regardless ... so this is a preventative measure," Kilfoil said. 

Jillian Kilfoil, a member of the P.E.I. Abortion Rights Network, says she's encouraged by the Canadian Paediatric Society's statement that birth control should be available to all Canadians under 25 at no cost. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

The new Progressive Conservative government didn't have a response Friday to the idea of providing free birth control on P.E.I.

Publicly-funded contraceptives were not part of the party's election platform. 

Kilfoil says she's hopeful the position statement from the Canadian Paediatric Society will be helpful as her group lobbies the government for publicly-funded contraceptives. 

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About the Author

Steve Bruce

Video journalist

Steve Bruce is a video journalist with CBC P.E.I. He landed on the Island in 2009, after stints with CBC in Fredericton, St. John's, Toronto and Vancouver. He grew up in Corner Brook, N.L.

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