Victoria city council will discuss supporting the AccessBC campaign for no-cost birth control during the council meeting on Thursday. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Victoria council will debate support for provincially funded birth control

If the motion passes, Victoria would be the first municipality to endorse AccessBC

Victoria council will discuss a motion to support no-cost birth control in B.C. at the next council meeting.

Councillors Jeremy Loveday and Sarah Potts have put forward a motion for the Jan. 23 committee of the whole meeting. They are asking Victoria council to endorse the AccessBC campaign calling on the B.C. government to cover the costs of prescription contraception in the 2020 provincial budget.

If the motion passes, Victoria council will present a resolution asking the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities to support the campaign by sending a letter to the provincial government, explained Teale Phelps Bondaroff, committee chair and co-founder of the AccessBC campaign. AccessBC members worked with Potts and Loveday to construct the motion for the upcoming meeting.

READ ALSO: B.C. advocacy group ‘optimistic’ 2020 provincial budget will fund free birth control

Loveday noted that equal access to free contraception will improve health outcomes and equality.

“I’ve heard from many residents in our community that this policy is a priority and I’m proud to stand beside them,” he said.

Potts emphasized the high costs of contraception and pointed out that “people should not have to choose between paying rent and accessing the contraception they need to make decisions about their bodies.”

AccessBC co-founder Devon Black agreed with Potts, pointing out that vasectomies are covered by the B.C. Medical Services Plan and condoms are given out for free, while contraception for people with uteruses can cost hundreds out of pocket.

Potts feels the campaign will save residents and the B.C. government money and she is proud to support the “truly equalizing act.”

READ ALSO: Groups call on province for free prescriptions on World Contraception Day

Phelps Bondaroff was pleased to see members of Victoria council voice support for provincially funded birth control. He noted that the benefits of offering no-cost birth control have been proven in other parts of the world such as France, Sweden and Denmark.

“It’s time for B.C. to step up,” Phelps Bondaroff said.

In 2010, Options for Sexual Health conducted a study that concluded that the B.C. government could save up to $95 million annually by spending about $50 million on covering the costs of prescription contraception.

If Potts and Loveday’s motion passes on Thursday evening, Victoria will become the first municipality to support AccessBC’s campaign, Phelps Bondaroff noted. More than 26 other groups have endorsed the campaign and others have shown their support through donations, social media posts and by making calls to MLAs, he said.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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