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Pharmacies Give Out Free Emergency Contraceptives In Wales

Pharmacies Give Out Free Emergency Contraceptives In Wales

The morning-after pill is now being given out for free by pharmacies in Wales in an attempt to reduce the number of teen pregnancies, although emergency contraceptives will still cost 25 pounds (around $40) elsewhere in Britain.  The pills will even be available to girls under the age of 16, leaving the question of whether they can get the contraceptives to the pharmacist.  Predictably, this has raised a storm of controversy about whether this will simply encourage more irresponsible attitudes toward sex.

Overall, I support any measure that makes it easier for women, especially young women, to access emergency contraceptives.  But critics are raising a number of fair concerns about this policy – the first of which is the fact that the morning-after pill does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.  As a Cardiff doctor pointed out, the burden should not be on pharmacists to explain to young women that although emergency contraceptives do help prevent pregnancy, they do not guard against the other risks associated with unprotected sex. 

In this sense, it also makes sense to make birth control pills and condoms free as well, not just emergency contraceptives.  And one would hope that the Welsh government would also step up sex education in their schools, so teens had not only access to contraceptives, but the knowledge that they needed to make responsible decisions.

Another troubling element of this new policy is the fact that pharmacists are left to conduct consultations with girls under the age of 16 who are seeking emergency contraceptives, and that the decision to dispense the medication is solely in their hands.  This is decidedly not pharmacists’ jobs, and could result in incredible abuses of power – pharmacists could shame girls about their decision to have sex, or neglect (as the doctor pointed out) to impart important advice about sexual decision-making.

This doesn’t mean, though, that access to emergency contraceptives “encourages men to see young women as sex objects, who can be exploited without responsibility for the consequences,” as a spokesman for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children warned.  Rather, the Welsh government just has a responsibility to make sure that teens (and adults as well) have access to all kinds of contraceptives, and that they have the knowledge necessary to use these resources.


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5:53PM PST on Dec 30, 2012

Very interesting. Thanks.

5:47PM PST on Dec 30, 2012

the world is overpopulated already. it's good to know they are handing out free contraceptives.

5:43PM PST on Dec 30, 2012

Perhaps if they used "night before" pills, there would be no need for "morning after"?

9:09AM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

We should care more about sexual health. STDdatings. com says Over 70 million people are living with STDs in the U.S. alone, as well as an estimated 400 million people worldwide. There's 600,000+ members on STDdatings, some famous people also find support there. wish you luck and find someone understand you.

8:21PM PDT on Apr 6, 2011

You are not alone even though you Have STD. Find others with STD positive singles at site named POZmingle,com. you may be upset and think your sex life is over. However, once you settle down and learn the facts, you'll realize that having HIV is not the end of the world, and it's not the end of your social life.

11:47AM PDT on Apr 6, 2011

Why can't each pack of Plan B just come with a pamphlet explaining this stuff? That's how I learned the finer details about my birth control: written information (with the fact that it doesn't prevent the spread of HIV or STIs at the top) is included in every pack. In my opinion, this is way more effective than a pharmacist OR a doctor explaining it verbally to a kid who is probably embarrassed and just wants to leave.

I can see the appeal of wanting EC to be prescription only, but that would totally defeat the point of emergency contraception. There are very few contraindications that would make a doctor refuse to prescribe a woman Plan B, and it's not like the pharmacist can't screen for those. I mean there's a reason you can't just walk in and pluck it off the shelf. The pharmacist has to ask you a few questions (at least that's how it works in Canada). And a prescription needed for some women but not for others? Ridiculous! It's just as safe for a teenager as it is for an adult.

1:58AM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

Thank God I had a son and I raised him with the motto: No glove, no love! If that fails, Plan B!

10:43PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

THERE SEEM TO BE 2 KINDS OF PEOPLE: those who consider provision of counseling, contraceptives, etc., as "encouraging" or "condoning" more sexual activity... and those who know kids are gonna have sex NO MATTER WHAT, so you might as well do damage-control where you can. Being well versed in human psychology, I happen to be in the latter camp. People who know very little, and therefore have to rely on emotions and personal philosophies ("religious right" et al) can usually be found in the former camp.

6:06PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Agree with author -- the intent was good, but written in haste, without thinking of the ramifications of STD transmission, etc., of a perhaps, uneducated public. REDO. REDO.

4:23PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

Well, I agree that further actions are needed for a more integral approach against teen pregnancy, but this seems like a good step forward, if only in terms of de-mystification and de-satanizing. Good for them. And this might clean up some of the many sins of pharmaceutical companies, right?

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