After the news broke of British Columbia’s plan for free prescription contraception, the New Democratic Party (NDP) leader, Rachel Notley, made a public announcement stating that if the NDP were to be elected in May, they would move to create a free contraceptive program modeled after British Columbia’s. These contraceptive devices include copper and hormonal IUDs, oral contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, and hormone implants and injections.
As of 2023, the patient must be prescribed contraceptives by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or midwife. The Pharmacare drug program offers residents of British Columbia a new way of purchasing expensive prescription drugs and supplies for medical needs. The coverage is only available for British Columbia residents who are enrolled in the Medical Services plan. Currently, Pharmacare only operates in British Colombia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Once the prescription has been written for a contraceptive device covered under Pharmacare’s detailed list, it can be filled at any pharmacy in the province for little to no cost. Some costs may apply for the dispensing and assessment of the prescription filling process.
Notley stated on May 8 that, “universal access to free contraception in Alberta will ensure that women are more in control of their lives and more in control of their own economic future.”
She estimates that $500 a year per individual could be saved by implementing the new program, but this isn’t the only reason Notley is advocating for women’s reproductive health care. The NDP leader wants a dependable health care system for women, non-binary, and trans individuals across Alberta for a low cost to the patient.
Notley made these statements on International Women’s Day, March 8, and looking back on the recent attack on women’s reproductive rights in countries like Somalia, Pakistan, and the United States, this advocacy comes at a time when women in Canada are looking for a politician who will protect their rights. Just like her Oscars’ commercial looking to connect with the younger voter generation, this could be seen as an attempt to win over female voters.