This Monday marks day one of Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week in Canada and the BC Green Party are calling on the BC NDPs to keep promises made of free contraception for all British Columbians.
Under former premier John Horgan, the commitment was made to establish a way for access to free contraception to be implemented two years ago.
The United Nations declared it a basic human right to have access to free and effective contraception in a 1968 conference.
“Two years into this majority government and British Columbians continue to shell out hundreds of dollars a year for this basic care, despite a promise for urgent action and growing affordability problems,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley.
“With the rising costs of living, providing free contraception is a concrete measure this government can put in place that will provide immediate and ongoing financial relief for people.”
Furstenau expressed she is concerned that the BC NDPs are holding off on committing to this promise until closer to an election so the policy can be leveraged for political good will towards voters.
Nearly one month ago in mid-January, AccessBC had a billboard along the Pat Bay Highway displaying a reminder to politicians about their promise to make free contraception a priority. Saanich Councillor Teale Phelps Bondaroff is a co-founder and co-chair of Access BC and helped the organization strategically plan the billboards installation.
“Free prescription contraception is a fantastic policy that will improve maternal and infant health outcomes, increase equality, make life more affordable, and will save the government millions of dollars,” said Phelps Bondaroff.
“This policy was a major 2020 BC NDP election promise and it is important that it be implemented soon. Every month that we delay is another month that British Columbians face unnecessary barriers to accessing prescription contraception.”
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According to AccessBC, an intrauterine device (IUD) can cost between $75 and $500 for women and oral contraceptive (birth-control) pills can cost $240 every year, hormone injections run up to $180 per year and implants contraception can cust around $350.
These costs have been proven to disproportionately affect BC’s most vulnerable populations, people with low incomes and marginalized communities.
Given that Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week is upon the BC NDPs, The BC Green Party hopes that they will be prompted to announce a free contraception plan for British Columbians.