Women’s Resource Society excited about free contraception in B.C.

Excitement seems to be building locally around the announcement of prescription contraceptives becoming free in the province, starting April 1st. 
A three week pack of birth control pills surrounded by leaves and flowers on a pink and brown background.
Birth control pills. (Canva)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Excitement seems to be building locally around the announcement of prescription contraceptives becoming free in the province, starting April 1st. 

The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society believes free contraception will be more convenient for residents.

“It’s been a lot of positive reacting, a lot of cheering, a lot of jumping up and down,” said Lilly Loichinger, the outreach store coordinator at the society.

The society hopes to handout out free contraceptives in the future when they have the space and ability to do so

The announcement was part of B.C.’s 2023 budget, making the province the first in Canada to offer free contraceptives. The B.C. government has earmarked $119 million for the program over three years.

The program will cover prescription contraception options, including most oral hormone pills, contraceptive injections, copper and hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) and subdermal implants, as well as “Plan B,” also known as the morning-after pill.

Finance Minister Katrine Conroy estimates that a person who spends $25 a month on contraception will save about $10,000 throughout their life with the new program.

Teale Phelps Bondaroff, chair of the AccessBC campaign for free prescription contraception, says the policy is exactly what his organization has spent years calling for, and advocates are “so excited.”

Bondaroff says free prescription contraception improves health outcomes for infants and mothers, makes life more affordable and equal, and expects it will save the government millions of dollars annually.

He says there’s more work to be done to improve access to sexual and reproductive health care in general.

Campaign members hope B.C. “will become a beacon of hope for reproductive justice across Canada and North America.”

Contraception is the use of medicines, devices or surgery to prevent pregnancy, though some use it for other reasons, such as regulating menstrual cycles.

There are many different types of birth control, some that require minor procedures, some as simple as taking a pill daily. It’s important to talk to a doctor to determine which form works best for each person.

After receiving a prescription from a doctor, B.C. residents will have to show their BC Services card to a pharmacy to receive the free contraception after April 1st.

For more information on the process, visit the province’s website.

With files from the Canadian Press.

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