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

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

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

Environmental journalist Candice Batista highlighting green products for the kitchen on the CTV Marilyn Denis Show. (Screenshot)
Eco-conscious Nakusp company highlighted on national TV

Bowl covers from Your Green Kitchen were highlighted

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

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

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Tim Miller is selling his 76-foot steel bridge from his property in Burton, B.C. The bridge originates from the railway in Revelstoke. (Contributed)
For sale: a 100-ton 19th century bridge by Arrow Lakes

Bridge is in Burton, B.C. and advertised for $40,000

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Most Read