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

COLUMN: Using technology to slow the spread of COVID-19

A newly developed national app has the potential to help in the fight against the pandemic

Princeton embarks on childcare needs study

How challenging is it to find daycare in Princeton? That’s a question… Continue reading

Morning Start: Women can give birth after they die

Your morning start for Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020

Morning Start: The Exorcist film set was haunted

Your morning start for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Federal Conservative leadership candidate skirts COVID-19 rules at Kelowna rally

Derek Sloan held a rally in Kelowna that had more than 50 people, which is against health orders from the province

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

South Okanagan restaurant ranked among world’s best by TripAdvisor

The Hooded Merganser was ranked within the top 10 per cent of all restaurants by TripAdvisor reviews

Most Read