AcessBC co-founders are ‘optimistic’ that the 2020 provincial budget will include funding for free contraception. (Pixabay)

B.C. advocacy group ‘optimistic’ 2020 provincial budget will fund free birth control

‘This is a policy that B.C. voters want,’ says one AccessBC co-founder

B.C. advocates for free birth control are feeling optimistic that the provincial government will agree to make universally accessible contraception a reality.

AccessBC – a province-wide campaign based in Saanich – has called on the B.C. government to fund free birth control prescriptions through the 2020 provincial budget, set to be announced in February.

The group has been running a letter-writing campaign since the fall of 2019. Those in favour of free birth control prescriptions were asked to write to their MLAs and the premier asking for the 2020 budget to include funding for universally accessible contraception.

Devon Black, an AccessBC co-founder, has seen the momentum build in the past few months as more allies show their support and write letters.

“We now have dozens of allies signed on in support, including the Victoria and Vancouver Labour Councils, the Camosun and Victoria student societies, the BC Society of Transition Houses, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada,” Black said. “This is a policy that B.C. voters want.”

According to Teale Phelps Bondaroff, chair and co-founder of AccessBC, the momentum is coming at just the right time as the B.C. government is finalizing the 2020 budget.

At an unrelated press conference in December, Premier John Horgan said the B.C. NDP government is open to looking at offering publicly-funded contraception as a means to make life more affordable for residents.

Phelps Bondaroff emphasized that access to free birth control empowers people, promotes equality and better health outcomes and saves the government money.

A 2010 study by Options For Sexual Health found that for every $1 spent on contraception, up to $90 can be saved in public expenditure on social support. The study also estimated that $95 million could be saved annually if the B.C. government made prescription contraceptives free because the cost of birth control is significantly less than the costs of an unintended pregnancy.

Cost is one of the biggest barriers to accessing contraceptives, Phelps Bondaroff explained. For example, an intrauterine device can cost between $75 and $380. As a result, many people choose less costly or less reliable options which can result in adverse health effects or an unintended pregnancy, he noted.

“Removing cost as a barrier to accessing contraception promotes equality,” Black said. “The costs of prescription contraception fall disproportionately on women and people with uteruses.”

Black emphasized that the letter-writing campaign is still in effect and that “public pressure” is the way to indicate that B.C. voters want universal contraception funded in the 2020 budget. Letters can be sent through the AccessBC website.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey mayor denies property tax deferral motion

Councillor’s notice of motion for Surrey property taxes to be deferred until Dec. 2 out of order

Team refunds OK’d for cancelled Surrey Mayor’s Cup soccer tournament

The decision follows the amalgamation of the Central City Breakers club with Surrey Football Club

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

April 7: Brewery starts making hand sanitizer, City of White Rock and Surrey lays off employees

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Look at hospitalizations, not recovery stats for COVID-19, B.C. professor says

Cases in hospital are a definitive count of people who have the novel coronavirus

B.C. First Nations want to launch fight of Trans Mountain pipeline approval

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear five challenges about the pipeline

N95 masks on the way for Canada after 3M reaches deal with White House

The Trump White House had ordered 3M to stop shipping masks to Canada

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

Most Read