OTTAWA – To mark the end of Women’s History Month in Canada, the NDP is renewing their call to the Liberal government for access to free birth control. On Halloween, we honour the “witches” who, throughout history, fought for access to birth control.

“In the Middle Ages, women who were using or promoting birth control were considered witches and could be sentenced to be burned at the stake. And in more modern times women still had to struggle to access reproductive health care,” said NDP MP Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe). “New Democrats believe that in this day and age birth control should be free for all women. Better access to birth control is about gender equality, reproductive health rights and human rights.”

Times have changed since the Middle Ages and women in Canada who use contraceptives are no longer accused of witchcraft. However, barriers remain in accessing contraception, including the financial cost that prevents many women from taking advantage of available options. This unfairly affects youth, immigrants, and women of low socioeconomic status.

“We have a Prime Minister who calls himself a feminist and a government that claims to promote and protect human rights and gender equality. Shouldn’t it be easy to give Canadian women full control of their reproductive health rights?” asked Mathyssen. “In honour of those who fought for women’s right to control their own fertility and to decide for themselves, let’s celebrate their courage and achievements by making prescription birth control free for Canada’s 150th birthday.”