Parksville council shows support for universal no-cost access to prescription contraception

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The City of Parksville will write a letter in support of adding free access to contraception, such as birth control pills, intrauterine devices, or hormone injections to the BC Medical Services Plan.

“I do see a benefit to this. Parenthood is a wonderful thing — that we can raise a life, but unfortunately when it’s not planned, it can be very disruptive and challenging to people,” said Coun. Adam Fras, who brought forward the motion. The City of Vernon wrote a letter last year and asked for support from other B.C. municipalities.

Several members of council said they could not support the motion because the issue is beyond the city’s mandate.

“I don’t think the tax-payers in Parksville want to pay for everyone’s sexual encounters,” said Coun. Al Greir. “We are in very dangerous times. If the government is controlling our lives through this pandemic, the last thing we should be doing is asking them to take control of other aspects of our life.”

Contraceptive methods such as condoms and vasectomies are available at low-cost or covered in the medical services plan, Fras said. He added he would like to see feminine hygiene products and male birth control included in the future.

“It’s really about equality — men and women. In this letter it’s very clear that women have not been treated as equally,” said Coun. Marilyn Wilson. 

The motion was carried 4 – 3, with Mayor Ed Mayne, Greir and Coun. Doug O’Brien opposed. The letter will be sent to the provincial minister of finance, the minister of health, the premier and Parksville-Qualicum MLA Adam Walker.  

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