Access BC and Options for Sexual Health calls on the B.C. Government to include free birth control in the 2020 budget. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

B.C. urged to fund free prescriptions on World Contraception Day

Groups ask B.C. government to remove cost barriers to accessing birth control

In honour of World Contraception Day – which takes place on Sept. 26 annually – AccessBC and Options for Sexual Health are asking the B.C. government to make all forms of prescription birth free and to support health care sites in providing the full range of contraception options.

World Contraception Day raises awareness about contraception and safe sex. It also falls within the 2019 Canadian Gender Equality Week – Sept. 23-27. AccessBC and Options for Sexual Health argue that unencumbered access to contraception is not only empowering, but promotes equality and better overall health, encourages safe sex and will lower rates of unintended pregnancies which the groups say will save the province money.

READ ALSO: Sexual health is a core component of Vernon gynecologist’s practice

Access BC and Options for Sexual Health feel it’s time for B.C. to join other countries around the world and remove the cost barrier to contraception access by including provisions in the 2020 budget. Birth control pills cost about $20 per month and an intra-uterine device can cost between $75 and $380. Youth, minorities and folks with low incomes are disproportionately affected by the cost barriers, noted the groups in a joint statement. AccessBC and Options for Sexual Health feel that personal preference should guide people’s contraception choices rather than cost.

Michelle Fortion, executive director of Option for Sexual Health, noted that Canadian contraceptive care providers have identified cost as being the biggest barrier to access.

READ ALSO: Trans-inclusive practice in B.C. sexual health and abortion clinics

In a 2015 study of the cost of universal prescription drug coverage in Canada, it was noted that free contraception would cost the country $157-million. However, the money saved by avoiding the medical costs relating to unintended pregnancies would be about $320-million. According to Options for Sexual Health, B.C. alone could save an estimated $95-million per year if prescription birth control was funded by the province.

Teale Phelps Bondaroff, chair and co-Founder of AccessBC noted that people have a right to birth control and that cost shouldn’t be a barrier.

“Anyone should be able to exercise their right to say what happens to their body, and to decide when – or if – they have children,” said Phelps Bondaroff, a Saanich-based researcher.

Those interested in writing to their MLA can submit a letter via the AccessBC website.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Air quality across the Lower Mainland could worsen slightly

AQ health index could see ‘low risk’ gravitate into ‘moderate risk’ from Vancouver to Hope

Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge invited to take part in virtual National Seniors Day gathering

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons invites people to take part in an Oct. 1 event online

Thanksgiving food drive nets new record for Maple Ridge food bank

More than 15,000 pounds, (6,800 kilograms), collected

Riders slow in returning to West Coast Express

TransLink bus ridership at 43 per cent of pre-COVID levels

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

Orange Shirt Day lessons of past in today’s classrooms

Phyllis Webstad, who attended St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia, is credited for creating the movement

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

Another death as COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital climbs to 18 cases

Total of 12 patients and six staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

‘Alien invasion’: Strange webbing creeps in overnight in Agassiz,Harrison

Eerie webbing might be the result of a growth in moth population

Most Read