Press Release - October 6, 2020
AccessBC Applauds BC NDP Inclusion of Free Prescription Contraception Coverage In Election Platform
On October 6th, 2020, John Horgan announced that free prescription contraception coverage would be included in the BC NDP’s 2020 election platform.
“We’re very pleased to see the BC NDP include free prescription contraception coverage in their platform,” said Devon Black, co-founder of AccessBC. “As a non-partisan campaign, we hope that other parties will include similar commitments in their own platforms, since we know from conversations with voters that they’ll be thinking about this issue when they fill out their ballots.”
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. 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.
“Cost is a significant barrier to accessing contraception for many people in BC,” says Teale Phelps Bondaroff, co-founder and chair of AccessBC, “and these costs fall disproportionately on women and people with uteruses.”
This election promise from the NDP 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 separate endorsements from eight separate BC municipalities. It also follows the endorsement of free prescription contraception coverage at the 2017 BC NDP convention.
To date, the BC NDP is the only party to include free prescription contraception coverage in their election commitments.
“Providing free prescription contraception coverage is a policy that will decrease provincial medical expenditures, while improving access to healthcare for BC residents and making an important commitment on gender equality,” said Teale Phelps Bondaroff. “This is the kind of policy that every political party should support, and we’re happy to see the BC NDP recognize this as an important issue for British Columbians.”
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.
BC NDP Platform Excerpt:
“Making contraception free: Cost should not prevent individuals, particularly young people, from their right to make choices about their reproductive health. While condoms can be easily found for little or no cost, and vasectomies are covered under MSP, prescription contraception is not covered. It’s time to make contraception free for all.”
BC NDP platform is available here, with the above language located at page 14.