The City of Vernon has penned a letter to the entire province of British Columbia, referencing the provision of no-cost access to all prescription contraception in B.C. under the Medical Services Plan.
Parksville city council received that letter from during the Wednesday, Feb. 17, council meeting.
The letter, dated Nov. 30, 2020, was also mailed to the Provincial Minister of Finance, the Provincial Minister of Health, the Premier of B.C., and to all other B.C. municipalities, asking for their support.
Cost can be a significant barrier to people accessing contraception, particularly to people with low incomes, youth and people from marginalized communities.
It continued to state that providing free prescription contraception has been shown to improve health outcomes for parents and infants by reducing the risks associated with unintended pregnancy, and that it is likely to reduce direct medical costs on the provincial health system.
“Contraception methods such as condoms or vasectomies are available at low cost, no cost or are covered by B.C.’s Medical Services Plan, whereas all contraceptive methods for people with uteruses (such as birth control pills, intrauterine devices, or hormone injections) have high up-front costs, making access to contraception unequal and gendered,” read the letter.
During Wednesday’s council meeting, Coun. Adam Fras was the only one to voice his support of the letter, and said it was a worthy cause for council to consider.
“Obviously there’s some real consequences for people when they have unplanned pregnancies that’s really disruptive to life,” said Fras. “I like the direction that they’re going with this. This isn’t something that we typically step into… I think since it’s set before us here, I’d like to see this letter supported.”
Mayor Ed Mayne asked Fras to bring up the discussion again as ‘new business’ if he wanted to make a motion but one was not made in time before the close of the open meeting.
Fras told PQB News that perhaps support for the letter can be brought up at a future meeting, either via a notice of motion or by asking staff to add it as an agenda item.