Press Release - October 15, 2020
AccessBC Applauds BC Green Party Promise to Provide Free Contraception to People Under 25 Years of Age
On October 14th, 2020, Sonia Furstenau announced that increased access to prescription contraception coverage would be included in the BC Green Party’s 2020 election platform. The platform promises free prescription contraceptive products for people under 25.
“We’re pleased to see the BC Green Party include free prescription contraception coverage for people under 25 in their platform,” said Devon Black, co-founder of AccessBC. “While we hope that the Greens will ultimately go further and support free contraception for all, we are pleased to see their platform reflect an issue that we know is a priority for BC voters.”
The Green Party platform also promises to eliminate PST on all prescription contraceptive products. Prescription oral contraceptives and intrauterine devices (IUDs) are currently PST-exempt in BC.
A 2010 study from Options for Sexual Health estimated that providing universal, no-cost contraception coverage in BC could save the provincial government as much as $95 million per year in direct medical costs alone. That pattern of savings has been seen in other jurisdictions, such as the UK, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Italy and Germany, which all subsidize prescription contraception in full or in part.
Currently, an intrauterine device (IUD) can cost $75 to $380, oral contraceptive pills can cost $20 per month, and hormone injections as much as $180 per year.
“Universal no-cost prescription contraception is one of those wonderful win-win-win situations: it improves the health and wellbeing of families, improves gender equity, and is a financially responsible decision that will save all taxpayers much needed income,” says Lisa Jensen, teacher and AccessBC campaign volunteer. “As someone who loves to work proactively and prevent issues before they arise, I believe that free access to contraception for all is needed to prevent harm to vulnerable and marginalized people in our society.”
This election promise from the Green Party follows the passage of two motions at the 2020 Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Convention on September 23rd, 2020 calling on the province to make prescription contraception available at no cost under the Medical Services Plan, as well as endorsements from ten separate BC municipalities.
In addition to this election commitment from the Green Party, the BC NDP has promised to provide universal free prescription contraception coverage in their election platform. Despite a promise to work to eliminate “unconscious bias across the health care system, and to ensure services are equitable and accessible for all,” the BC Liberal platform makes no mention of access to contraception.
AccessBC is currently running a letter campaign, by which British Columbians can reach out to the candidates running in their constituencies to call on them to commit to increasing access to prescription contraception. Letters can be sent from AccessBC’s website at www.accessbc.org.