Pembroke JCR debates morning after pill

For the second year in a row, Pembroke JCR debated a motion concerning its morning-after Pill reimbursement policy.

Proposed by Annie Smith and seconded by Kris Blake, the motion resolved to “reimburse only half the cost of the morning-after pill, £13, rather than the full £26”. It opined that “a small fortune is being spent by the JCR reimbursing the morning-after pill (over £350 at the last count)”, yet it is free from the Alec Turnbull clinic in Cowley.

The aim of the motion was to encourage people to take advantage of these routes – saving the JCR considerable sums – whilst still supporting the best interests of its members. For example, the full £26 would be reimbursed on a Sunday when “it is harder to get it for free”.

The motion failed, after strong feelings were voiced in the debate. One student felt that it was imperative to reject this motion because “I don’t think we should be cutting such an important welfare service.”

Another student supported the motion, saying “I don’t think it’s a bad thing to make people go to their GP… We already provide condoms”.

One undergraduate alleged that that “it’s not fair for the JCR to pick up on at-risk behaviour.”

David White, JCR president of Pembroke, stated, “It was also made clear that the committee held a neutral position concerning the motion and would be happy to proceed either way.”

He emphasised that the motion was intended only to highlight to the JCR this provision for its members, and “not at all to say whether the use of the morning after pill was right or wrong”.

White also commented, “Pembroke JCR is proud and able to support welfare through the full reimbursement of the morning after pill and will continue to do so in full.”

Annie Smith, who proposed the motion, told Cherwell, “I was pretty neutral about the motion, and I didn’t really mind whether it passed or not; the same can be said about the Male Welfare Officer, the Women’s Rep, Treasurers and President.”

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She also denied that the motion had been proposed with a financial incentive. She stated, “With a flexible welfare budget and a financially secure JCR, this motion really was not motivated by concerns about money, however the incentive argument was one of the main things considered by the JCR.” 

Rebecca Henshaw, a Pembroke student, commented, “Whilst it is a vital service, as accidents do happen, I think the decision was less intended to start charging for the morning after pill and more to encourage students to perhaps think twice about prevention.”