The Saanich-based group called AccessBC was disappointed to see that universal no-cost birth control was not included in the 2021 B.C. budget. (Photo courtesy AccessBC Campaign)

The Saanich-based group called AccessBC was disappointed to see that universal no-cost birth control was not included in the 2021 B.C. budget. (Photo courtesy AccessBC Campaign)

Advocates disappointed promised no-cost birth control left out of 2021 B.C. budget

‘Difficult to justify waiting’ as impacts of COVID-19 well-documented, AccessBC says

No-cost birth control is off the table for B.C. in 2021 and the advocacy group AccessBC is disappointed as organizers say it would have had significant positive impacts amid the pandemic.

When universal contraception coverage was left out of the 2020 budget, Devon Black, co-founder of AccessBC, called the exclusion a missed opportunity but said the team was hopeful about the province funding no-cost prescription birth control in 2021.

It was a significant component of the NDP campaign during the snap election in October, Black said, adding that it’s been on the party’s policy books for nearly five years.

READ ALSO: No-cost birth control not included in 2020 B.C. budget

On April 20, after the budget was released without the inclusion of universal birth control, Minister Selena Robinson said it’s something the party has committed to over its four-year term.

AccessBC has been pushing for B.C. to make all forms of contraception universally accessible since 2017. Two years ago, on World Contraception Day, the group began a letter-writing campaign. The bid was endorsed by various groups including the City of Victoria, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Medical Students.

READ ALSO: B.C. NDP’s pledge of free birth control followed by Liberals, Greens

The team cited a 2010 study by Options for Sexual Health, which estimated that providing B.C. residents with free birth control would cost about $52 million, but would save up to $95 million annually as costs for supporting unplanned pregnancies would go down.

Black said the pandemic should have been the extra push needed as the “gendered impacts are well-documented” – from the financial strain experienced by those who left the workforce to care for their families or who lost their jobs in professions where close contact was required, to the increase in intimate partner violence with more time at home.

“Access to contraception isn’t a silver bullet, but it is one way to help combat the gender inequalities that this pandemic has aggravated,” she said.

READ ALSO:Pandemic leaves Greater Victoria women more vulnerable to domestic violence

This was on the NDP’s radar and funding no-cost contraception was an opportunity to recognize the impactand act on it, Black said.

“It’s difficult to justify waiting another year.”


Do you have a story tip? Email: devon.bidal@saanichnews.com.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

2021 B.C. Budget

Just Posted

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

File photo
Paramedic training returning to Castlegar

Emergency Medical Responder and Primary Care Paramedic training to take place in Castlegar

Emerson Potter, a Grade 3 student at Blewett Elementary, advocated for changes to help him use his wheelchair on the school grounds. He’s seen here with his parents Lindsay Thompson and Keith Potter, and Blewett principal Tim Mushumanski (right). Photo: Tyler Harper
‘Pretty awesome’: Nelson-area student advocates for school to improve outdoor accessibility

Emerson Potter, who lives with cerebral palsy, had trouble moving around Blewett Elementary’s grounds

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

People will be strapping on the inline skates in Castlegar this summer. Photo: Jennifer Small
Castlegar Skating Club offers new summer inline program

New program will let ice skaters continue their training through the summer

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial prowler acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Most Read