I am writing to publically support the work of AccessBC and to provide a perspective from my nursing career that may add a human face to this issue. The economic benefits of funding free contraception is unequivocal. The AccessBC website contains the most up-to-date research on this and it is very compelling.
I graduated from nursing school 33 years ago. I have worked in Ontario, Zimbabwe, England, Guatemala and completed my career here in B.C. I have witnessed firsthand the impact that health inequalities have on maternal child health.
In B.C., I have worked in a health-care system that has failed young women. It was deeply troubling to see the barriers that young women had trying to navigate the system to obtain contraception. I have also seen firsthand the consequences of unplanned pregnancies. I am thinking now specifically of a 16 year old that I had the privilege to work with 19 years ago.
Her mother was a teen mother and now she herself was pregnant. This was a high-risk pregnancy that she carried with tremendous courage.
Can you imagine helping a 16 year old figure out breast feeding and then helping her figure out the social service system she now found herself in? This was all under the constant fear of Child Protection social workers threatening to take her baby away. It was a daily stress that altered the trajectory of her life irreversibly. This same system has not changed for her daughter who would now be 19 years old.
At least 3 generations have been ill-served with our health care system at tremendous human cost and cost to society. This scenario is completely preventable.
Nothing in the 33 years since I left nursing school will interrupt this cycle of poverty than having barrier free access to contraception. Nothing! I am so encouraged to read about the efforts of Access BC. I feel for the first time, this B.C. government is signalling they are willing to change this system.
It will constitute a paradigm shift in women's health and improve the lives of the women in BC and allow them to live the life of their choice.