Morning-after pill now free in Wales
Summary of story from the BBC , April 1, 2011
Emergency contraception can now be obtained free of charge from pharmacies across Wales, while still costing around £25 in the rest of the UK.
Community pharmacists will also be able to provide the “morning after pill” to under-16s, but only if pharamacists decide it is clinically appropriate and if the girl in question understands what she is asking for.
The move was announced in November last year by Health Minister Edwina Hart, who said she wants professional advice available without appointment and “easily accessible within the 72-hour time span necessary for emergency contraception to be most effective.”
Parts of Wales have some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the UK, and Wales is the first nation to offer emergency contraception free on the high street.
The move will affect 700 pharmacies.
Josephine Quintavalle (founder of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, or ‘CORE’) opposes the move.
“It is absoloutely the wrong way to address the problems of high rates of teenage pregnancy in Wales. The idea that young girls can just walk into a chemist will mean they become even less responsible about sexuality.”
Yet family planning charity Marie Stopes International welcome the change.
Janet Pearce – a nurse advisor at the charity’s call centre – said, “This is an important step forward in preventing unplanned pregnancies and abortions amongst women in Wales.
It will be particularly beneficial for low income women and young women who may risk a pregnancy because of the cost associated with the emergency contraceptive pill.”