You know what they say; a pill a day keeps the baby away. Well, 99% of the time when used correctly. We’re talking about the oral contraceptive pill (aka the pill). And, if you’re an Australian woman of reproductive age (15-49), chances are you’ve considered taking the oral contraceptive pill at some stage of your life.
The pill is easily accessible, reasonably affordable and 99% effective when used perfectly (yep, that precisely timed daily pop). There’s no doubt that when it comes to preventing unplanned pregnancy, the pill is one of the easiest contraceptive methods to access and follow. That’s exactly why it’s the most popular type of birth control among Australian women, with 33% of us making it our go-to option for around-the-clock pregnancy protection.
But, with barriers of shame, high-costs, and accessibility, it isn’t all sunshine and lollipops for women in countries beyond Australia’s shores. So, let’s take a closer look at how easy it is to access the oral contraceptive pill in different countries around the world.
In Indonesia, access to oral contraception is considered a basic human right. For married couples, that is. If you’ve tied the knot with your significant other and have no prescription or insurance, then you’ll have no problem buying the oral contraceptive pill at a local pharmacy. However, if your relationship status sits outside the marriage bubble, premarital sexual endeavours are unsupported, especially among the religious population. Despite this resistance, the oral pill rates as the most popular form of contraception in Indonesia at 64% and is super affordable at the equivalent of a few Australian dollars.
Known as ‘pi-ru’, oral contraception in Japan was only legalised in 1999. That’s four decades after it became available in the West, and shockingly post Viagra legalisation. Women in Japan are required to visit their ob/gyn to obtain a script before hitting up the pharmacy where they can expect to pay ¥2,000-3,000 ($25-40AUD) for their monthly supply. This care-free cost isn’t covered by Japanese health insurance.
You may have heard a thing or two about China’s One-Child Policy. It’s because of this self-explanatory policy that the use of contraception in China has been strongly encouraged by the government for decades. There’s no stigma attached to the practice of safe sex, however, in comparison to Australia oral contraceptives account for only 8.2% of methods used, with IUD insertion (50.2%), tubal ligation (25.4%) and vas deferens ligation (10%) being the preferred front-runners.
China offers married couples a wide spectrum of private and public health care options, and contraceptives are available without prescription or age restriction. Depending on the pharmacy, prices range from 23rmb through to 138rmb. So, whilst China is ahead of the game in providing safe sex methods for married couples, premarital sex is social taboo. That means young people wishing to engage in the deed may fall through the cracks of contraception access and sexual education.
The pill-a-day movement is going strong in America, with 14% of women currently choosing the oral pill as their preferred contraceptive method. Access to the pill in America varies by state, however most states allow those under the age of 18 to purchase birth control without parental permission.
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) states that most insurance plans must cover the cost of contraceptives. Without insurance, American women are expected to pay the cost of a doctor’s visit, plus the ongoing total cost of the pill (up to $50 big ones each month).
In France, hormonal contraception is widely available with a doctor’s prescription in hand. Depending on the type of birth control pill, prices range from €2 – €15 for a month’s supply, with social security covering up to 65% of the cost. A collective sigh of relief for the women of France!
When it comes to accessing oral contraception, the UK really goes above and beyond. The NHS has supplied the pill for free since it was introduced in 1961 – we’ll cheers to that. Contraception services are completely confidential, including for girls under 16 years of age, unless there’s a risk to health. British women can fulfil their complimentary contraceptive needs at most GP surgeries, community contraceptive clinics, sexual health clinics and youth services.
In 2015, an estimated 1.3 million (16%) women in Canada reported taking oral contraception. Canadian women can visit their doctor for a prescription and collect the pill from a pharmacy for $20-35/month, or sexual health clinic for $7-23/month. Alternatively, a script can be organised via online contraception subscription websites, like Felix. Virtual medicine services generally aren’t covered, and the script will cost an extra $40. To remove the barrier of cost for young women in Canada, free and confidential access to contraception is available for under 25-ers.
With its number one spot on the global gender equality scale, health care inclusive of family planning services, is free in Iceland. 35% of Icelandic women 20-40 years of age use either the pill or IUD for pregnancy- free peace of mind.
We’re here for your contraceptive pill needs – offering a subscription so you don’t forget to get your script refilled. Get started today!