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Media Advisory - January 16, 2020


Women’s March 2020 - Statement, AccessBC


On January 18, 2020, people from around the world will join together for the third annual Women’s March. AccessBC is proud to stand with the Women’s March to advocate for women’s human rights - especially the right to accessible contraception.


“Access to contraception is an equality issue,” said AccessBC co-founder Devon Black. “Vasectomies are covered by provincial health plans and condoms are frequently made available for free, but the prescription contraception that women are more likely to rely on can cost hundreds of dollars. The costs of reproductive health - whether in the form of contraception or in the costs of unintended pregnancies - fall disproportionately on people with uteruses.”


The inequality of our current system is one of the reasons that AccessBC has been campaigning for the BC government to make all forms of prescription contraception universally accessible at no cost.


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.


“Too often, cost is the limiting factor in people being able to recognize their full reproductive freedom,” said Dr. Ruth Habte, AccessBC committee member and UBC Obstetrics & Gynaecology resident physician. “I have personally seen how the patchwork of different coverage available in the province leave many people without access to contraception or force people to use a contraceptive method that does not best suit their needs. Universal access to contraception is imperative in upholding reproductive rights.” 


“At a time when we see women’s rights being eroded around the world, it’s important that British Columbia step up and passes progressive policy that increases equality,” said AccessBC chair and co-founder Teale Phelps Bondaroff. “It’s impossible for people to have full reproductive rights if they can’t afford the contraceptive methods that work best for them.”


On the day of the Women’s March, AccessBC calls on the Government of British Columbia and the Legislative Assembly to ensure that the 2020 budget includes provisions to make all forms of prescription contraception be made universally accessible at no cost for any citizen.


Furthermore, we call on the government to ensure that all community clinics, hospitals, and identified health care sites are supported to carry a full complement of contraception to ensure that choice is available based on the needs and personal preference of the individual seeking the contraception. 


“Reproductive freedom is a fundamental human right,” said Black. “Being able to decide when and if to become pregnant isn’t a decision that should be compromised just because someone can’t afford a prescription. It’s long past time for prescription contraception to be freely accessible for everyone.”

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