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

Fires ignite on Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie; Kamloops Fire Centre blazes holding

Crews working throughout region over holiday weekend to contain wildfires

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Solco Creek fire east of Okanagan Falls grows to nearly 14 hectares

Both fires were under two hectares in size as of Thursday night, neither threatening structures

New ICBC data shows number of collisions in South Okanagan, Similkameen, by city and street

Penticton, Oliver, Summerland top charts for most vehicle crashes in 2019

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Reported Big White wildfire dubbed ‘smoke chase’

Crews responded to the area but could not locate a fire

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Wildfire in West Kelowna’s Rose Valley grows to 3 hectares

The fire was first reported at around 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 2.

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

Man found dead in van on Okanagan road

Foul play not suspected in death of 39-year-old West Kelowna man found in Vernon Saturday, Aug. 1

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Most Read