Advocates disappointed to see universal birth control coverage missing in 2021 B.C. budget

Saanich News, April 27, 2021

No-cost birth control is off the table for B.C. in 2021 and Saanich-based advocacy group, AccessBC, is disappointed as organizers say it would have had significant positive impacts amid the pandemic.

When universal contraception coverage was left out of the 2020 budget, Devon Black, co-founder of AccessBC, called the exclusion a missed opportunity but said the team was hopeful about the province funding no-cost prescription birth control in 2021.

Consumer round-up: B.C.'s budget hikes tobacco tax, provides free transit for kids

CTV News, April 20, 2021

For the past two years, advocates have been hoping B.C. budgets would include free prescription birth control for the province, but so far, it has not materialized.

Last year, health minister Adrian Dix said it was under review for the next budget. And recommendations from the 2021 Budget Committee included one to “Provide free prescription contraception for all people in British Columbia.”

Free contraception in BC would help everyone, not just cis women 

Loose Lips Magazine,
March 22, 2021

The BC NDP was elected on a platform that promised to make all prescription contraception free, affirmed by Minister of Health for BC Adrian Dix’s mandate letter. That still hasn’t happened, limiting access to care for anyone who can become pregnant across the province. That can include trans men, non-binary people, gender-fluid people, and intersex people, not only cisgender women.

Free contraception is still out of reach for Canadians

The Pidgeon, March 18, 2021

“Almost everyone in British Columbia has either used contraception or has benefited from their partners using contraception, so the idea of this being a special interest issue is just wildly divorced from reality,” Black said.

“The other thread of opposition that we’ve heard […]is ultimately grounded in a desire to control women’s bodies.”

Provincial group pushes for free contraception

CKPG Today, Mar. 11, 2021

 A BC-based group that formed over four years ago is on a campaign to remove barriers to accessing prescription contraception.

AccessBC believes prescription contraception is a right, not a luxury. The group wants to see universal no-cost prescription contraception for the residents of BC.

Are all women in Canada really free to choose?

UBC Women's Health Research Cluster, Feb. 27, 2021

There are numerous benefits to accessible contraception, which are evident in studies in North America and around the world. In Canada, the cost of contraception is almost entirely the responsibility of the user, with few exceptions. This is in contrast to several countries which similarly have universal health care, but have chosen to subsidize prescription contraception, either in full or in part. 

AccessBC advocates for no-cost prescription contraception

The Peak, Feb. 15, 2021

AccessBC is pushing for various types of contraception (such as the contraceptive patch, implant, and oral pill) to be available to all BC residents at no cost. “Access to contraception in BC is recognized as a basic human right, but unfortunately many people in BC can’t access this right,” they stated.

The Peak interviewed Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, chair and co-founder of AccessBC, Dr. Ruth Habte, resident physician at UBC gynecology, and SFU alumni and UBC medical student, Samuel Kirk, to find out more about the group’s campaign. 

B.C. NDPs free birth control pledge a win for equality, will pay for itself: advocates

Victoria News, Oct. 14, 2020

The campaign promise, announced by NDP Leader John Horgan last week, is expected to cost $60 million each year.

Devon Black and Teale Phelps Bondaroff, co-founders of AccessBC, said that they’ve been advocating for free birth control in B.C. for four years. “We were really excited,” Phelps Bondaroff said. The group, although non-partisan, helped pass the policy at an NDP convention in 2017, the first step to getting it to an election platform.

B.C. NDP promises free prescription contraception if elected

Globe and Mail,
Oct. 11, 2020

“This is such an important step,” said Chen. “It has been such a barrier for people to be able to have their basic reproductive health and rights.”

The party said the program to provide, for example, oral contraceptive pills or intrauterine devices, will cost the government $60 million a year.

Chen said the move to make prescription contraception free is a continuation of the effort the government made to have free menstrual products in the bathrooms of all public schools.