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

Shoot the Moon pub passes public hearing stage

Rod Alsop and Jon Ludtke’s proposed pub is one step closer after a packed public hearing

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP visits Wet’suwet’en camps, calls for Coastal GasLink pipeline to be ‘revisited’

Paul Manly met with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the RCMP to talk about the ongoing situation

BREAKING: LSS evacuated after reports of ‘gas smell’

Students were evacuated to Frank Jameson Community Centre, but have since returned to class

Successful end to search for kayakers along the Chemainus River

Father and son located tired and cold, but otherwise OK

Ladysmith Art Council announces new Poet in Residence

John Edwards will serve as the inaugural Poet in Residence

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read