Teen is calling on BC government to make prescription contraception free

Jan 22 2023, 10:28 pm

After watching a rollback to women’s reproductive rights, like the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, a local high school student has been doing all she can to advocate for universal contraception in BC.

Last year, Sophie Choong was looking for a way to get involved with reproductive justice locally, so she joined AccessBC as a Marketing Director. 

AccessBC is a group striving to remove barriers for folks needing help accessing prescription contraception. 

Just last week, a billboard fundraising campaign led by Choong was installed along the Patricia Bay Highway just south of Mt. Newton Cross Road, outside of Victoria.

“We’re really trying to make sure that when MLAs and Premier [David] Eby returned to the legislature, we want them to see that billboard and be reminded of their promise to make prescription contraception free,” the grade 11 student explained. 

Choong adds Transit ads have also been installed around the Lower Mainland.

“More widely, it’s about public pressure, but people really don’t understand the impact that community organization can have on the government’s actions,” she urged. 

“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. We need to put additional pressure on the government to make sure this important policy is in the upcoming budget,” Choong explained in a statement when the AccessBC campaign installed the billboard. 


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The youngest member of AccessBC told Daily Hive they care about this mission because of how intertwined young people and reproductive justice is in Canada. She explained that young people are disproportionately impacted by barriers when accessing contraception because of the cost and their parents’ approval, for example. 

There are also people with certain chronic illnesses or reproductive complications who may depend on prescription contraception, she said. 

“Because the issue of prescription contraception points to a larger issue around bodily autonomy and reproductive justice, it’s really important that we’re not letting people fall through the cracks who may depend on these kinds of medications for their lives,” Choong added. 

“Currently, an intrauterine device (IUD) can cost up to $500, oral contraceptive pills can cost $20 a month, the implant up to $350, and hormone injections up to $180 per year,” Choong said in the statement. “These costs have been exacerbated by the pandemic and fall particularly on women and people who can get pregnant, making this an issue of equity and affordability.”

The benefits of free prescription birth control do not only help young people and folks with chronic illnesses but Choong says the province contributes too. 

Choong points to a 2010 study from OPTIONS for Sexual Health which found the government could save about $95 million annually by covering contraception.

In an email to Daily Hive, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said the government is committed to making prescription contraception free in BC “to reduce costs for people and uphold everyone’s right to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.”

“We’ve committed to achieving this within the government’s mandate and that’s what we will do. We are actively working on policy and other developmental work so we can implement this commitment in a way that ensures equitable access for all BC residents,” the spokesperson ensured. 

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