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LETTER: It’s time for B.C. to offer free prescription contraception

In the recent provincial election, the BC NDP included free prescription contraception in their platform. With the provincial budget around the corner, it’s important that Premier Horgan fulfills this pledge.

Cost is a significant barrier to contraception. An intrauterine device can cost between $75 to $380 and some oral contraceptives can be $20 per month. These costs fall disproportionately on women and people who can get pregnant.

Cost should never be an impediment to people exercising their right to make choices about their bodies. Not only will free prescription contraception help increase access to this necessary medicine, but it will improve health outcomes, increase equality, and save the government millions. A 2010 study by Options for Sexual Health estimated that such a policy would save B.C. $95 million annually.

It is little wonder that countries around the world provide prescription contraception free of charge. It’s time for B.C. to do the same.

It is critical that this policy covers as many forms of prescription contraception as possible and that it is adopted now. When it comes to contraception, choice is important – it’s not one size fits all. The pandemic has hit many people hard, and this has dramatically increased the barriers people face when trying to access contraception.

I am proud to serve as the chair of the AccessBC Campaign for free prescription contraception in B.C., a group of people from across the province calling for the implementation of this policy. We are urging people to write to the government to ask them to honour their pledge and include free prescription contraception in the 2021 provincial budget.

Teale Phelps Bondaroff

Saanich