The ongoing campaign for free contraception by AccessBC

The BC NDP has yet to fulfill their election promise of free contraception in BC

This is a photo of pregnancy test, contraceptive gel, and tampons on a store market shelf.
PHOTO: Kriti Monga / The Peak

By: Nercya Kalino, Staff Writer

AccessBC’s campaign has been at the forefront in fighting for access to contraceptives in BC. In a statement to The Peak, a spokesperson for the ministry of health said AccessBC’s advocacy is welcome and “our government is committed to making prescription contraception free in British Columbia to reduce costs for people.” 

The AccessBC campaign noted the BC NDP ran in 2020 with an election promise to implement universal no-cost prescription contraception. Despite having seen no policy change yet, the campaign has received support from frontline health workers who spoke up about the issue of free prescription contraception in 2021. 

AccessBC highlighted how people in marginalized communities, people with low-incomes, and youth often face barriers to accessing contraceptives due to its high costs. The ministry of health spokesperson underlined this issue stating there has been commitment within the government’s mandate to address these barriers. “We are actively working on policy and other developmental work so we can implement this commitment in a way that ensures equitable access for all BC residents.”

Vancouver is Awesome reported the various costs of prescription contraception in BC. While vasectomies are covered under MSP, intrauterine devices (IUD) can cost up to $425. Contraceptive pills can be as much as $35 per month and hormone injections up to $180 per year. 

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada released a statement in September 2021 calling for free prescription contraception. They noted it encourages equitable access and improvement of health outcomes. 

In 2019, there was improvement of access to contraception through major changes to Fair PharmaCare. The ministry of health noted in 2019 they invested $95.3 million to reduce or eliminate deductibles and family maximums for 240,000 low-income British Columbians for the first time in 15 years. This gives low-income individuals better access to contraception.”

For more information and to donate to AccessBC’s campaign, visit their website.

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