Response was positive and swift to the Alberta NDP’s recent election promise to provide universal access to free prescription contraception, says the NDP’s critic for women’s issues.
“Since we first made this commitment in Edmonton last week I’ve been overwhelmed with feedback from Albertans about the monumental impact that this will have on their lives,” said NDP critic for women’s issues Janis Irwin in Red Deer on Thursday.
“This policy will ensure that more Albertans are in control of their own lives and their own economic futures.”
Universal access, which would cost the province about $34 million annually, would cover oral hormone pills, contraceptive injections, copper and hormonal intrauterine devices, subdermal implants, and Plan B (morning-after pill).
Without prescription coverage, Albertans pay about $240 per month for oral hormone pills and upwards of $500 for an IUD.
“Studies have found that the average woman taking the pill would spend $10,000 over their lifetime. This isn’t right. It’s a cost of living barrier. It’s a health-care issue,” said NDP Red Deer-North candidate Jaelene Tweedle.
“Albertans deserve better health care, health care that’s there for them when and where they need it. This includes reproductive health care, specifically contraception.”
NDP Red Deer-South candidate Michelle Baer noted the cost of vasectomies in Alberta for men is completely covered.
“Equal access to contraception grants women the ability to fully participate in our economy to pursue their goals. Many women take a form of birth control to help with severe period symptoms like cramping, pelvic pain, or heavy bleeding,” Baer said.
British Columbia’s NDP government announced in its spring budget that it will make prescription contraception free to residents starting April 1, making it the first province to do so.
— with files from The Canadian Press