Media Advisory - January 22, 2020
Media Advisory - Victoria City Council to Debate No-Cost Contraception Motion
Thursday evening, January 23, Victoria City Council will debate a motion put forward by Councillors Jeremy Loveday and Sarah Potts, calling on the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities call on the Provincial Government to cover all prescription contraception in BC as a universal health care service and make it available at no cost to residents.
“Universal coverage of contraception will improve equity and health outcomes. I’ve heard from many residents in our community that this policy is a priority and I’m proud to stand beside them,” says Councillor Jeremy Loveday.
“It’s great to see this issue being debated by Victoria City Council,” said Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, committee chair and co-founder of the AccessBC Campaign for free prescription contraception in BC. “The benefits of making all prescription contraception universally available at no cost have been demonstrated in other jurisdictions, in terms of public health outcomes, fiscal savings, promoting equality, and impact on individuals. It’s time for BC to step up.”
A 2010 study from Options for Sexual Health estimated that providing universal, no-cost contraception coverage in BC would likely cost approximately $50 million, but would save 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, Italy and Germany, which all subsidize prescription contraception in full, or in part.
“This policy is about increasing equality,” said Devon Black, co-founder of AccessBC. “When vasectomies are covered by BC’s Medical Services Plan and condoms are handed out for free, it’s galling that contraception for people with uteruses can still cost hundreds of dollars. That cost puts it out of reach for far too many people.”
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. These costs are a significant barrier in accessing contraception for many people in BC, and make it much harder for BC residents to freely make their own reproductive choices.
“We are in an affordability crisis, and people should not have to choose between paying rent and accessing the contraception they need to make decisions about their bodies. This policy will save people and the government money,” said Councillor Sarah Potts. “I am grateful to the community members who have brought this forward. Access to contraception is a truly equalizing act that I am proud to support.”
The full motion will be available as part of the agenda of the Committee of the Whole meeting Wednesday morning, here. A preview of motion can be found below.
AccessBC is a province-wide campaign that advocates for universal no-cost prescription contraception in British Columbia. AccessBC is currently running a letter writing campaign to urge the BC Government to include this policy in the upcoming 2020 budget. You can learn more about AccessBC, the need for, and benefits of, making all prescription contraception universally available at no cost, at www.accessbc.org.
PROVIDE UNIVERSAL NO-COST COVERAGE OF PRESCRIPTION CONTRACEPTION
WHEREAS cost is a significant barrier to people accessing contraception, particularly to people with low incomes, youth, and people from marginalized communities;
AND WHEREAS providing free prescription contraception has been shown to improve health outcomes for parents and infants by reducing the risks associated with unintended pregnancy, and is likely to reduce direct medical costs on the provincial health system;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities call on the Provincial Government to make all prescription contraception in BC available at no cost under the Medical Services Plan.