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The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) has published the latest edition of its Contraception Policy Atlas- an index ranking 46 European countries on a variety of contraception-related matters, including access to non-prescription contraceptives, cost reimbursement, and access to medical advice. The report was prepared by, among others, EPF experts, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Population Fund.
As usual, the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium were ranked as having the best policies overall, scoring 91.1% each. Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Belarus, on the other hand, recorded some of the lowest scores (between 42 and 44 percent). Poland came last (33.5%), remaining at the bottom of the list for the second consecutive time.
The challenges Polish women face when it comes to contraceptive access abound: prescription-only contraceptives (including emergency contraception), but also the lack of reliable sexual education and the fact that doctors refuse to write prescriptions invoking the so-called conscience clause. Further studies show that not only doctors but also whole institutions deliberately do not inform patients about the fact that the National Health Fund reimburses the procedure of insertion and removal of intrauterine contraceptive devices.
- The government is responsible for these barriers, and, despite multiple interpellations, it is not interested in this subject and does not care about this sphere of our health. It should be borne in mind that the lack of access to contraception hits the less privileged people harder - explained Kamila Ferenc, a lawyer from the Federation for Women and Family Planning, at the press conference associating the launch of the 2020 Contraception Policy Atlas in 2020.
Two years ago, MPs from the Left Party announced specific actions aimed at eliminating barriers to accessing contraception in Poland, while last year the Consultative Council of the Polish Women's Strike presented its research results and put forward a number of demands, such as access to free contraception, including emergency contraception accessible beyond pharmacies.
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