Free contraception is good

Re. Response to recent letters on B.C.'s new free prescription contraception announcement

I read through the recent letters and noticed a number relating to the provincial government’s recent announcement it will be make all prescription contraception in B.C. free. A few of these letters require a response.

First, for those raising concern about the tax dollars and costs, free prescription contraception is a revenue positive policy. A 2010 study by Options for Sexual Health estimated this policy would save the provincial government around $95 million a year.

Why? Unplanned pregnancies are at a higher risk to complications to mothers and infants and these amount to costs to our public healthcare system (not to mention personal health impacts). Abortions are also publicly funded. Additionally, those who may struggle to afford the contraception that’s right for them, may also struggle to afford to raise a child, with costs again falling to the state.

When a program in Colorado offered free IUDs to young people (43,713 at a cost of $28 million), that program reduced teen pregnancies by 54% and teen abortion rates by 64% over the course of eight years, and saved the government an estimated $70 million.

Even if the policy did cost a bunch of money, it would still absolutely be worth implementing free prescription contraception (as it) improves health outcomes, makes life more affordable, and increases equality.

Finally, in my opinion, the Kelowna Right to Life Society’s suggestion contraception is not “medically necessary,” betrays a profound lack of understanding.

Contraception is life-saving medicine and is not only used to prevent unplanned pregnancies but also to treat chronic gynacological conditions like endometriosis and used in gender affirming care.

To make such an outlandish claim (at the start of Endometriosis Awareness Week no less) and to repeat other medically inaccurate or unsubstantiated claims, speaks to the lack of credibility of that organization.

This (free prescription contraception) is a fantastic policy and I am very pleased to see B.C. become the first jurisdiction in Canada to make prescription contraception free.

We can only hope that other provinces follow suit so no one in Canada will face unnecessary barriers when trying to access the contraception that is right for them.

Teale Phelps Bondaroff
chair and co-founder
AccessBC campaign for free prescription contraception

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