Vernon urging province to consider no-cost contraceptives in B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon urging province to consider no-cost contraceptives in B.C.

FILE - Birth control pills.
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Vernon is asking the province to consider no-cost contraceptives and other municipalities are following suite.

City council sent a letter to the province and other B.C. municipalities back in November, 2020, which outlined social, economic and health benefits of providing no-cost prescription contraceptives regardless of gender under B.C.’s Medical Services Plan.

The Regional District of the Kootenay Boundary received the city's letter and board members agreed to support Vernon with their own letter. Board members invited other local governments to do the same after their regular meeting, Jan. 13.

READ MORE: Millions of women lose contraceptives, abortions in COVID-19

Vernon's letter said the cost of contraceptives is a significant barrier to people with “low incomes, youth, and people from marginalized communities.”

Providing free prescriptions has shown to improve health outcomes for parents and infants by reducing the risks of unintended pregnancies, and also reduce the direct medical costs on the healthcare system, according to the letter.

The letter also argues that condoms or vasectomies are available at low cost, no cost, or are covered by B.C.’s medical plan, but 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 MORE: Feds commit $8.9M in foreign aid for reproductive health services amid COVID-19

More than 180,700 women in Canada will have an unintended pregnancy, which has an associated cost of $320 million to the health care system, according to a report from Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, a charitable organization that advocates for health related to sexuality and reproduction. The charity is advocating for national contraceptive cost coverage.

The average monthly price of pills is $22 a month, a hormonal IUD costs more than $350 up front, non-hormonal IUDs cost $50, and injectable contraceptives cost $45 in Canada, according to the organization.

Vernon has also addressed the Minister of Finance, Minister of Health, Premier John Horgan and MLA Harwinder Sandhu in its letter.

The City of Rossland is also supporting no cost contraceptives, according to regional district documents.


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