AccessBC Campaign Applauds Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services Recommendation to Include Free Prescription Contraception in the 2020 Budget
Press Release - August 7, 2019
Today, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released its Report on the Budget 2020 Consultation, and members of the AccessBC Campaign for free prescription contraception are applauding its recommendation that the upcoming budget include a move towards making prescription contraception in BC free.
Recommendation 50 reads as follows: “The Committee recommends to the Legislative Assembly that the provincial government … Explore the provision of free contraception in a targeted and incremental manner.”
“It's heartening to see that the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services recommending that the 2020 budget include efforts to explore the provision of free contraception in a targeted and incremental manner,” said AccessBC co-founder Devon Black (who uses she/her pronouns). “As the Standing Committee acknowledged, cost is the number one barrier to accessing contraception. Currently, too many BC residents are not able to freely decide when or if they want to become pregnant.”
Cost remains a significant barrier to people accessing contraception, particularly to people with low incomes, youth, and people from marginalized communities. An intrauterine device (IUD) can cost between $75 and $380, oral contraceptive pills can cost $20 per month, and hormone injections can cost as much as $180 per year. The result is that too many BC residents use less effective methods of contraception – or simply go without.
"Too many barriers exist for those hoping to have an equitable say in their lives, careers, families, health, and bodies," said AccessBC activist and abortion doula Bree Gardner (who uses they/them pronouns). "Financial reprieve is a direly needed first step for any estrogen producing body, and is especially beneficial to those already experiencing widespread systemic marginalization."
“This will be a great policy for the province. Programs that offer free prescription contraception have been found to be revenue-positive. The cost of providing free prescription contraception is considerably lower than the costs associated with unintended pregnancy,” said Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, co-founder and committee chair of AccessBC (who uses he/him pronouns). “The province should make all prescription contraception available to all British Columbians at no cost.”
A 2010 study by Options for Sexual Health estimated that every $1 spent on contraceptive support can save as much as $90 in public expenditure on social supports. Their study estimated that the BC government could save as much as $95 million annually if it implemented a program of universal access to prescription contraception.
“AccessBC applauds the recommendation from the Standing Committee, and calls upon the government to ensure that the provision of no-cost prescription contraception is included in the 2020 budget,” said Ms. Black.
“We are urging people to visit our website, www.accessbc.org, where they can easily write their MLAs and tell them to make all prescription contraception free,” urged Mx. Gardner.
The goal of the AccessBC campaign is to ensure that prescription contraception be made available to BC residents at no cost. More information about the campaign is available online at www.accessbc.org.
Listen to Dr. Phelps Bondaroff's presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services