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

Leafs beat Nitehawks for 8th straight win

The win gives Nelson a provisional division lead

Castlegar march ensures missing, murdered aboriginal women not forgotten

About 60 people took part in the Valentine’s day memorial

Jenner scored 2 in debut as Leafs beat Thunder Cats

Nelson is on a seven-game winning streak

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read