Manitoba NDP Commit to Free Birth Control for all Manitobans if Elected
Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg MB—The Manitoba NDP would implement universal coverage for prescription contraceptives if elected. The announcement is the Party’s first health care election commitment to be unveiled ahead of the campaign.
Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew, Uzoma Asagwara, Nahanni Fontaine and dozens of NDP candidates stood with families, doctors and community volunteers on Sunday to make the commitment.
"Prescription contraception is a right, not a luxury. Money should never be a barrier to exercising your right to and control over your body and decisions about having children,” said NDP Spokesperson on Status of Women Nahanni Fontaine. “An NDP government would support gender-equality in health care.”
Under the Manitoba NDP’s plan, the provincial government would cover the full cost of dozens of commonly used birth-control methods, including oral contraceptives, copper and hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs), hormonal injections and the morning-after pill.
For Manitobans without health insurance, or with partial coverage, the cost of an IUD can be as much as $380 and birth control pills can cost a person $240 a year. Manitoba Health covers contraceptive procedures, like vasectomies.
Marginalized and financially struggling communities are regularly without birth control coverage. Many young Manitobans face barriers to accessing birth control, putting them at higher risk of unplanned pregnancy. Removing barriers will give women, trans men and non-binary people greater control of their lives, improve their health outcomes and reduce overall costs to the health care system.
“Money should never be a barrier to accessing health care. Birth control is a part of health care, whether you’re using it to prevent pregnancy or for a range of health reasons,” said NDP Spokesperson for Health Uzoma Asagwara. “This commitment would help keep Manitobans healthy, benefit our economy and support our health care system as a whole.”
The Women’s Health Clinic has been offering a free birth control program for teenagers and adults since 1986, and advocating for birth control coverage for decades. Clinic staff and volunteers joined the Manitoba NDP to support the announcement.
The cost of implementing universal coverage of contraceptives is $11 million a year.