When it comes to reproductive health, people have the right to make their own choices – especially around contraception. But the reality is that for many Nova Scotians, a lack of financial resources is a barrier to that right. That’s why on Tuesday, November 2nd, Liberal MLA Kelly Regan introduced the Free Intrauterine Device Act.
This bill will require the provincial government to cover the full cost of IUDs for people living on a lower income when they obtain the contraceptive through a Nova Scotia clinic that provides surgical or chemical abortions.
“This bill is about closing a gap in the availability of contraception for those most at risk in our province,” says Regan. “There are many types of circumstances that would lead someone to seek an abortion. And this is a way of ensuring that people on a lower income in our province can get an IUD for free, when and if they want one.”
IUDs provide three to five years of contraception and a level of anonymity that other contraceptives like the birth control pill do not. But, while MSI covers the insertion of an IUD, the purchase of the device can cost upwards of $500. While many Nova Scotians are on some type of drug plan that covers that cost- and the contraceptive is also on the Formulary – many of our most vulnerable in the province simply do not have that access to coverage.
“For some, it’s just simply not affordable,” says Regan. “Unplanned pregnancy can be hard enough on a person, especially those in vulnerable circumstances. By covering the full cost of an IUD for those living on a lower income, we’d be helping to prevent a difficult situation from recurring.”
The Act applies to a single person making $26,000 or less per year, or with a household income of less than $32,000. The bill also provides full coverage for youth and those in a difficult situation who can’t provide proof of income.