Growing Opposition to Government Cuts in Fertility Treatments

Growing Opposition to Government Cuts in Fertility Treatments

Montreal (Quebec) December 14, 2014 – A few hundred people came together in downtown Montréal in order to protest Bill 20, a government austerity measure that would change the way the assisted procreation program is handled and financed by the government.

Proposed by Health Minister Barette in late November, Bill 20 would make significant changes to how individuals and couples access the assisted procreation program.  The program currently offers publicly-funded access to a very wide array of assisted procreation methods, such as in-vitro fertilisation and artificial insemination.  Under Bill 20, individuals and couples would be left to foot the cost, with the government offering a tax credit covering between 80% to 20% of the actual cost, depending on the prospective parents’ income bracket.  Services to individuals who are facing reduced fertility due to other treatments, such as chemotherapy, would continue to receive the service free of charge.

Opponents of the bill argue that it would make fertility treatments considerably less accessible to lower-income families, who may simply not be able to bear the entire cost of treatments while waiting for a tax credit to reimburse part of their costs several months later.  For some lower-income families who would need expensive treatments in order to conceive, the costs may be greater than what it is possible to offset by tax credits at all.

The bill also limits access to a single round of treatment for women under 37, down from the previous allowance for three rounds of treatments.  Women between 37 and 42 would be given a second chance.

Minister Barette defends the cuts, saying they are the result of a public study on the practice conducted by the Commission on Health and Well-Being.  Debate around access to fertility treatments has lifted the veil on several unresolved social issues relating to the treatments, such as questioning on whether fertility treatments are a health issue, if there is a “right” to have children, and the return on investment of creating new life.  The Health Minister invites opponents and proponents of Bill 20 to participate in upcoming parliamentary hearings on the issue.

Categories: Politics

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