PONTON Sex Educators Group negatively assesses the proposed changes in the availability of emergency contraception, ellaOne – ulipristal acetate.

The project involves a change in pharmaceutical law, which will cause all

contraceptives shall be issued with a prescription. Consequently the only emergency contraception available to people over the age of 15 will again be on prescription. What does it mean?

On Saturday night during intercourse the condom broke. I panicked, together with my boyfriend we decided to buy an “after” pill . I just started college and I cannot imagine that I could be pregnant (adrena, 08/08/2016)

Now, a young person who will need emergency contraception, will not be able to just go to the pharmacy and buy pills – one will have to first go to a doctor, thus losing valuable time, during which she could have take the pill to protect herself against unwanted pregnancy!

On September 26 we celebrated the World Day of contraception, while in Poland, a last measure chemical contraception had been withdrawn and the government seeks to limit the availability of emergency contraception. For us this is an alarming situation, because easy access to contraception is one of the basic reproductive rights.

Polish law states that sex with a person over 15 years old is allowed, but the same person cannot independently come to the gynecologist to do examinations and get a prescription for contraception, because this requires the consent of a guardian, and yet in many homes a sexuality topic is still a taboo.

For many young people access to hormonal contraception becomes almost impossible. The planned revision of the rules will greatly reduce the possibility of preventing unwanted pregnancy in case of unprotected intercourse (including rape!) Or when used method of contraception had failed (eg. The condom broke). The most disadvantaged will be the youngest and the poorest people who will not be able to afford a private road visit to the gynecologist, and then buy an expensive pill.

I should add that doctors often refuse prescriptions for emergency contraception measures invoking the conscience clause. Therefore the introduction of prescriptions for emergency contraception is a huge problem.

The World Health Organization reports that emergency contraception is safe and does not adversely affect fertility. It is not recommended as a regular method of contraception, but as a method used in exceptional situations. There are no medical reasons to restrict access to ellaOne only to sell prescription! The way of taking the pill together with warning about possible side effects are sufficiently clear for women and girls over 15 years old.

However, The Minister of Health Konstanty Radziwiłł claims, that “these types of products are simply dangerous” and that “we have to deal with situations where there are girls who take such measures several times in a month.” Given that the price per pack ellaOne is about 150 PLN, it is a surprising statement. It is a pity that the Minister did not give the sources from which acquired such information.

In a situation where the Minister is concerned about the excessive taking of the emergency contraception by teenagers, maybe he should consider increasing the knowledge of young people and access to modern means of preventing pregnancy for regular use. Young people have gaps in basic knowledge about sexuality and often do not know how to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. “Ponton” Group regularly receives questions on the helpline on whether the given sexual behaviour was risky, and whether to take emergency contraception. Young people want and need sexual education in schools!

Today, September 28, we celebrate the Day of Action for safe and legal abortion. A way to reduce the number of abortions is first and foremost to provide the youth solid knowledge about sexuality and ensure there is universal access to modern contraception, including emergency contraception!

“Ponton” Sex Educators Group calls for keeping ellaOne as an emergency contraception available without a prescription.

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