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 to see universal birth control coverage missing in 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 Saanich-based 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 impact and 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

Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

(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’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

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

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

Most Read