Burnaby backs call for free contraceptives for women

Burnaby city council is backing a growing movement calling for the province to offer free prescription contraceptives to women.

The push is coming from AccessBC, a group fighting for free access to prescription contraceptives.

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“We believe prescription contraception is a right, not a luxury,” reads the group’s website, which pegs the cost of intrauterine devices (IUD) at $75 to $380, pills at $20 per month and hormone injections at $180 per year.

By contrast, contraceptives targeted to men, like condoms or vasectomies, are “available at low cost, no cost or are covered by B.C.’s medical services plan, according to a resolution council intends to back at the Lower Mainland Local Government Association this year.

“Cost is a significant barrier to people accessing contraception, particularly to people with low incomes, youth, and people from marginalized communities,” reads the resolution.

“Providing free prescription contraception has been shown to improve health outcomes for parents and infants by reducing the risks associated with unintended pregnancy and is likely to reduce direct medical costs on the provincial health system.”

According to a staff report, Teale Phelps Bondaroff, a member of AccessBC spoke to the City of Victoria, and that city’s council adopted a similar resolution.

After hearing from AccessBC member Nazanin Moghadami, Vancouver’s city council passed a similar resolution on to its standing finance committee, which heard from speakers on the issue last week and continued to hear from speakers on Tuesday this week.

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