Canada Introduces Free Womens Contraception, Should Australia Be Next?

April 3, 2024 11:42 am in by

Canada has set a new standard in healthcare by offering free contraception to women, a move that’s causing ripples across the globe, especially in Australia. In a landmark announcement, the Canadian government revealed plans to cover the entire cost of various contraceptive methods, including pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and hormonal implants. This step is part of a broader healthcare reform aimed at eliminating economic barriers to birth control access for over nine million Canadian women. With this move, Canada joins the ranks of countries like the UK, Ireland, and France in providing free prescription birth control.

The decision, as highlighted by Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, is designed not only for family planning but also as a crucial aspect of medical treatment, emphasizing the financial hurdles many women face in accessing contraceptives.

Emergency contraceptive pill (‘morning after’ pill)N/A$0 to $50N/Asingle use after sexual intercourse
Oral contraceptive pillAround $6.40 (only if listed in PBS)$10 to $35$0 to $115 per consultation3 months
Hormonal IUD (Mirena)*Around $6.40Around $39.50$0 to $200 per consultation (at least 2 required)5 years
Copper IUD (also an emergency contraception)*N/A$70 to $120$0 to $300 per consultation (at least 2 required)10 years
Contraceptive implant/rod (Implanon)Around $6.40Around $37$0 to around $115 per consultation (at least 2 required)3 years
Contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera)Around $6.40$15$0 to around $115 per consultation (at least 2 required)3 months
Vaginal ringN/AAround $30$0 to around $115 per consultation (at least 2 required)3 weeks
DiaphragmN/A$70 to $90$0 to around $115 per consultation (at least 2 required)2 years
The cost of Contraceptives in Australia varies from state-to-state (above is average price in ACT as at 2019), depending on the type of contraceptive item you choose as well as whether you are eligible for concessional rates. Credit:
Cost of contraception in Australia – Women’s Health Matters (
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Meanwhile, in Australia, the scenario is quite different. Despite having a healthcare system similar to Canada’s, Australian women still bear the cost of contraceptives and related medical procedures. Reproductive experts and sexual health advocates in Australia are now urging the government to follow Canada’s lead.

The cost of contraception in Australia varies, with a three-month supply of pills ranging between $10 and $30, and a copper IUD could cost up to $550, including the insertion fee. Comparatively, in places like the UK and France, such contraceptives are freely available. Australia’s current rate of long-acting reversible contraception uptake is significantly lower than in other developed countries, a situation attributed to the high costs involved.

Though there are subsidies to alleviate some of these costs, experts argue they are insufficient to make a real difference. New South Wales, Victoria, and the ACT have recently introduced schemes to improve accessibility, but there’s a consensus that more comprehensive action is needed to match global standards.