Did you know up until 1969 it was illegal to sell or advertise birth control in Canada? That may feel like a long time, but your mother or grandmother likely didn’t have access to or information about the reproductive options we take for granted.
Today marks World Contraception Day, an annual global campaign that aims to educate young people about the choices they’re entitled to make about their reproductive health. While we believe everyone should have the ability to choose and access whatever form of contraception they prefer, that’s certainly not the case everywhere.
The lack of access and education in addition to the stigma attached to contraception disproportionately affects women —who tend to bear the brunt of the responsibility and repercussions when it comes to family planning. And according to the WHO, nearly 1 in 10 women aged 15-49 worldwide want to avoid or postpone pregnancy but aren’t using any form of contraception.
We firmly believe birth control saves lives. More education, access, and open and honest discussions can help ensure that no pregnancy is unplanned or unwanted. That, in turn, lowers the chances of unsafe abortions as well as maternal and child deaths. In fact, the United Nations sexual and health reproductive agency estimates that they have been able to prevent 89 million unintended pregnancies, 26.8 million unsafe abortions, 254,000 maternal deaths, and 1.6 million child deaths since 2008 by providing modern contraceptives in countries with high maternal death rates.
While we’re lucky here in Canada as many of us have access to safe and effective contraceptive methods, that isn’t true for everyone. There is still a shocking number of barriers to birth control right here at home. Stigma is an ongoing issue, especially for young people, and there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to access in rural communities which are home to almost 20% of our population and only 8% of our doctors.
As Felix’s co-founder and CEO, that’s one of the reasons I made access to birth control a core part of Felix’s mission. By creating a safe, discreet, and seamless way for women to access the birth control they want, learn more about the options available to them, and talk with healthcare practitioners on their own terms and time, we’re moving towards a better solution for reproductive health.
It's important to keep the conversation going about reproductive rights so we can build a future where everyone feels informed, safe, and healthy in regard to their sexual health and family planning — here in Canada and around the world.
Emma Stern, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer
The views expressed here are those of the author and, as with the rest of the content on Health Guide, are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare practitioner.