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

Minus two-degree weather a warm welcome following cold snap in Chilliwack

People flocked to the hills Saturday, sleds in hand, to take in some snowy fun in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Highway 1 to look like winter war zone until owners retrieve wrecked vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

Charity Clothes2U ready to hand out free items to people in need in Chilliwack

The Clothes2U Winter Giveaway event will be in Chilliwack at Cooke’s Presbyterian Church

Pickup truck motorist drives up vehicle ramp and onto parked trailer on Chilliwack road

The incident happened on Young Road after Chilliwack was handed another dump of snow Friday night

5 to 10 cm of snow still coming to Fraser Valley: Environment Canada

Hard to say when the freezing rain will turn to regular rainfall, Environment Canada says

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Midnight at the Chilliwack SPCA

Due to out-of-date information on his microchip, Midnight’s owners could not be contacted

Vancouver police investigate after man found dead in vehicle

Man has not been identified and no one has been arrested

Update: Collision halts highway traffic west of Revelstoke

Drive BC also reported a vehicle incident 10 km east of Golden.

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Most Read