Sparwood dodges request for support for free contraception

Sparwood dodges request for support for free contraception

Councillors didn’t take any action on a request from another municipality to join a campaign for no-cost prescription contraception

While other municipalities get behind a campaign for the provincial government to make prescription contraception free across the province, no councillors in the District of Sparwood wanted to touch the issue at the most recent council meeting.

Upon receiving the letter from Mayor Jonathan Cote of New Westminster urging other municipalities to write to the provincial government to request no-cost prescription contraception be made available under the Medical Services Plan (MSP), Councillor Saad voiced opposition to the campaign.

“I honestly think that it’s just giving young people permission,” said Cr Saad.

“They can buy (contraception) when they want … I don’t understand giving it away.”

Mayor Wilks interpreted Cr Saad’s comments as a motion to receive the letter, which is municipal speak for acknowledging that the letter had been received without any further action to be taken.

The motion was carried without discussion, with five councillors voting in favor, while Mayor Wilks and Councillor Brad Bowen abstained.

Seven municipalities have individually called on the provincial government to cover all prescription contraception at no cost under the MSP, including Cranbrook and Kimberley. Cranbrook’s council voted to support no-cost prescription contraception on Sept. 14.

Other municipalities include Vancouver, Victoria, Burnaby, Squamish and as mentioned, New Westminster, while the body representing all municipalities – the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) – voted in support in free contraception across the province at the recent 2020 UBCM convention.

Dr Teale Phelps Bondaroff, who is the chair and co-founder of AccessBC- which has been lobbying for free universal contraceptives since 2017 – said that arguments related to cost had been dis-proven by studies from around the world.

“Programs that offer no-cost prescription contraception save government money, and by extension the public,” he said.

“The short answer (from studies) is if you can’t afford contraception, you can’t afford to raise a child, and those costs fall on the shoulders of the state and the taxpayer.”

He explained that many of the most effective forms of contraceptive were also some of the most expensive.

Phelps Bondaroff also took issue with the idea that free contraception would “give young people permission to have sex.”

“The reality is people are having sex. And if someone wants to have sex, or is ready to have sex, we should be making it as easy as possible for them to have safer sex, and that includes removing barriers to contraception.

“Unplanned pregnancies and STI’s shouldn’t be punishment for having sex, and that kind of thinking is outmoded, its backwards, its sex-negative, and its not a way of thinking that’s going to bring us a healthier and happier society.”

READ MORE: Cranbrook and Kimberley Councils support initiative calling on BC Gov. to cover prescription contraception



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

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

Just Posted

Today, on April 22, over 1 billion people will come together – virtually – to mark Earth Day.(Pixabay)
Earth Day 2021: a time to reflect

By Ruth Kamnitzer Today, on April 22, over 1 billion people will… Continue reading

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

While pharmacies across B.C. are using AstraZeneca for public immunizations for people 40 years of age and older, there is no availability currently in the Kootenays. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
No AstraZeneca vaccine availability in Kootenay pharmacies, says Interior Health

Vaccine has been opened up at pharmacies in other areas of the province to people 40 years of age and older

Balsamroot, pictured here, can be found on Sunflower Hill in the Kimberley Nature Park, Eager Hill, Wycliffe Buttes, and many other areas across the Rocky Mountain Trench. (Paul Rodgers file)
Spring’s yearly spectacle of balsamroot

Ever year in May, balsamroot emerges for a brief showy period

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. girl’s wish granted as her cat came back, two years later

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident wants Columbia River better protected

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read