Vernon council to consider motion on free prescription contraception

Vernon City Council will consider a motion on free prescription contraceptives this week. Getty

Vernon city council will consider a motion Tuesday that, if passed, would see the city call on the provincial government to provide free prescription contraception.

Coun. Kelly Fehr, who put forward the motion, argues uneven access to contraception is an equity issue.

Read more: City of Victoria calls on province to fund free birth control

“When people can’t afford contraception, it places them in situations that they may not be prepared or equipped to take on and it adds additional stresses on the families and on the health-care system,” Fehr said.

“The reality is the financial burden for prescription contraception falls disproportionately on women and people with uteruses and the result of unwanted pregnancies presents an unfortunate healthcare challenge to women.”

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Fehr said he put the motion on the city council agenda after becoming aware of a campaign by the group AccessBC to have free prescription contraception available to as many British Columbians as possible.

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The AccessBC group argues that women “get the short end of the stick almost every time when it comes to reproductive costs,” as “condoms can be easily found for little or no cost, and vasectomies are covered” by the province’s Medical Services Plan but there are costs associated with prescription contraceptives for women.

Read more: The Pill was legalized 50 years ago, but experts say we can still improve contraceptive access

Vernon’s motion comes after other B.C. municipalities passed similar motions in support of the idea of free prescription contraceptives including Victoria and New Westminster.

The issue has come up on the provincial campaign trail.

Read more: B.C. election 2020 promise tracker: What the major parties are pledging

The BC NDP has promised to make prescription contraception free for everyone if it forms the next government.

Global News has reached out to the provincial Green, Liberal and Conservative parties to see what their policies are regarding contraceptive coverage.

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– with files from Simon Little


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