A Vernon city councillor is urging the province to cover prescription contraceptives under the Medical Service Plan. (Ceridwen - Wikimedia Commons)

A Vernon city councillor is urging the province to cover prescription contraceptives under the Medical Service Plan. (Ceridwen - Wikimedia Commons)

Vernon councillor pushes for free birth control

Coun. Kelly Fehr wants to see prescription contraceptives covered by province’s medical service plan

Birth control is expensive and it’s a cost barrier for those with low incomes, youth and marginalized communities but a City of Vernon councillor is looking to make it more accessible to all.

Vernon Coun. Kelly Fehr’s motion to send a letter to the province, health minister and local MLA supporting access to contraceptives at no cost was passed by council during the Oct. 13 meeting.

“Providing free prescription contraception has been shown to improve health outcomes for parents and infants by reducing the risks associated with unintended pregnancy and is likely to reduce direct medical costs on the provincial health system,” Fehr’s motion reads.

Fehr’s motion underscores the inequality between contraceptive methods available to men and women and the costs associated with each.

“Contraceptive methods such as condoms or vasectomies are available at low cost, no cost, or are covered by BC’s Medical Services Plan,” it reads. “Contraceptive methods for people with uteruses, such as birth control pills, intrauterine devices or hormone injections, have high up-front costs.”

An intrauterine device (IUD), which has a 99 per cent efficacy rate, can cost between $80-300 in British Columbia, while condoms are offered free of charge at several clinics.

The letter will be addressed to B.C.’s finance and health ministers, the premier and local MLA seeking support for universal access to all contraception under MSP.

A copy of the letter will be forwarded to all municipalities in the province asking for letters of support.

Council voted 6-1 in favour of Fehr’s motion, with only Coun. Scott Anderson in opposition.

“I have no problem in principle with the idea but do have a problem with the hierarchy of needs,” Anderson said.

Anderson said a significant portion of the population lives with diabetes and necessary medicine is expensive.

“I would really hesitate to vote for something when we’re leaving all those other people in a bind,” he said Tuesday. “I’d like it all to be free if we could afford to do that. I just don’t see this near the top of existential needs.”

READ MORE: Low-income young women less likely to use reliable birth control, B.C. study finds

READ MORE: Diphtheria outbreak affected Summerland in 1911


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Lavington Community Association shared this image of the final support beam installed at Jeffers Park in 2020. (Lavington Community Association - Instagram)
COVID-19 halts plans to open Lavington ice rink

Skaters won’t be able to enjoy the newly erected roof at Jeffers Park this season

Deb White, carnival chairwoman, rode in on style Saturday during the parade. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
Pandemic postpones parade, heart of Vernon Winter Carnival

Interior Health says no to one of B.C.’s only winter parades

An elementary school student misplaced their glucose monitoring device for diabetes and his family and teachers are hoping someone maybe picked it up. (Dexcom)
UPDATE: Vernon student’s missing medical device found

Receiver used to monitor diabetes believed left in snowbank at school

The revitalization of Polson Park is one of the many projects that come to council’s mind that could benefit from the Fortis BC Legacy Fund. (Debbie Gibson photo)
Vernon council considers use of $13M ‘legacy’

Fortis BC Legacy Fund to be discussed further in special meeting of council

Lindsay Palmateer, a Salmon Arm mother of six, succumbed to her injuries after a serious crash Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, south of Enderby. (Contributed)
‘She was everyone’s caretaker’: Salmon Arm mother of six remembered

GoFundMe campaign exceeds goal already for family involved in deadly crash near Enderby

Brett Forsythe battles it out in a game of singles pickleball on ice at Okanagan Training Rink Thursday, Jan. 7 in support of the Vernon Food Bank. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Pickleball play hits the ice in Okanagan

Rivals battle it out in support of the food bank

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media/FILE)
Vehicle found abandoned after fleeing Kelowna RCMP, avoiding spike belt

Police believed at the time vehicle was tied to alleged shooting in West Kelowna

West Kelowna RCMP are investigating reports of gunfire in the 1700-block of Ross Road. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating reports of gunfire

West Kelowna RCMP said the incident occurred on Jan. 14

Penticton’s 7-Eleven is closed due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19, the company announced Jan. 15, 2021. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton 7-Eleven closed after employee tests positive for COVID-19

The store will re-open “on or before” Jan. 23

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

With a second case of COVID-19 confirmed at South Canoe Elementary, parents were advised Thursday, Jan. 14, that the school could be closed for a week or so. (Contributed)
Closure considered after four cases of COVID-19 identified at Salmon Arm school

South Canoe Elementary principal grateful for concern and support shown by public

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project is on track, despite COVID-19 and the recent provincial election. (Government of BC photo)
1 month closure planned for Highway 1 near Golden

This closure is expected from April 12 until May 14. Others are planned in the future.

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read