With Budget 2023 around the corner, AccessBC is calling for free prescription contraception with newly installed advertisements at SkyTrain stations across Metro Vancouver.
The grassroots organization hopes the campaign will inform the public and put additional pressure on the government to prioritize making prescription contraception free for all British Columbians.
“Free prescription contraception has been a longstanding government promise. It was in the minister of health’s most recent and previous mandate letters, but it has yet to be implemented,” says Sophie Choong, high school student and AccessBC’s marketing director, who led the fundraising campaign for the transit ads and billboard.
“Though the response we received from the premier last week was encouraging and we applaud the government's commitment to this policy, we want action, and we want free prescription contraception to be included in the 2023 provincial budget.”
At present, an intrauterine device (also known as an IUD) can cost up to $500. Oral birth control pills can cost $20 a month, with implants costing up to $350.
"Not only does universal, no-cost prescription contraception make life more affordable for people, but it will also save the government millions,” says Teale Phelps Bondaroff, AccessBC campaign chair and co-founder.
“A 2010 study from Options for Sexual Health estimated that providing universal, no-cost contraception coverage in B.C. would save the government as much as $95 million per year.”
The campaign was made possible thanks to public donations and support from the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC), a national abortion rights group.
“B.C. can benefit from being the first province to showcase not just the cost-effectiveness of free contraception, but also its social justice benefits. The time to act is now," said Joyce Arthur, executive director of ARCC, in a statement.
The ads can be found at the following SkyTrain stations: Burquitlam, Coquitlam Central, Inlet, Lougheed Town Centre, and Production Way-University for the next three weeks.