On Monday, thousands of women and men crowded Melbourne’s Swanston Street to protest restrictions on the sale of contraceptives in Australia, as part of a international campaign against the measures.
After a massive push to use the state’s budget to protect young women from birth control “abusers,” including restrictions on the sale of over-the-counter hormonal contraception, Elizabeth Farrelly wrote for New York Magazine that the government’s focus on childhood abuse instead represents a dangerous, misdirected policy.
The restrictions, brought to pass in April, take effect in July — which is also when 12-month “out of pocket” charges begin to increase for birth control pills from $10 to $20. For many Australians, that is a significant financial and logistical burden. As the Age reported:
The initiative by the federal Health Department to charge $20.65 is expected to have an impact on women by placing greater restrictions on women using the medication after six months. Removing barrier methods will add to the difficulties for women as they may find it hard to obtain them in some cases.
The government has also banned the import of 35 types of contraceptive pills and the approval of more than 40 chemicals in hormone-making and contraceptive systems since 2015. The restrictions were brought in because of a surge in incidents of abuse, which are on the rise as Australia’s fertility rate begins to plummet.
WATCH: Tens of thousands march against restrictions on purchase of over-the-counter hormonal contraception in Australia https://t.co/utvCmmfwHi — World Health Organization (@WHO) May 13, 2019
“I’ve started this petition because I’m raising my kids in an income that doesn’t cover the expenses of childcare, transportation and education. I’m also raising my children amid a tax rate that currently is 25 percent,” said one petitioner in a video posted to her petition.