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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

John Pavelich’s 83rd birthday had an added surprise; members of Enderby City Council came by his residence to present him with a Lifetime Civic Merit award Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Enderby resident unwraps Lifetime Civic Merit award on 83rd birthday

John ‘JP’ Pavelich has been a pillar of volunteerism in Enderby since 1967

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

The Vernon Vipers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3-1 to secure the top spot in the BC Hockey League Vernon pod Friday, May 7, 2021. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
VIDEO: Vipers beat Salmon Arm, clinch top spot in BCHL Vernon pod

Goaltender James Porter Jr. was a wall for the Vipers, who outscored the Silverbacks 3-1 Friday

VSAR’s Air Rescue One unit assisted in a rescue in West Kelowna May 3, 2021. (VSAR screenshot)
VIDEO: VSAR’s Air Rescue One team assists in West Kelowna Rescue

The Vernon Search and Rescue helicopter team pulled off a successful rescue Monday

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read