Polish cabinet moves to restore prescription-free emergency contraception

WARSAW: Poland‘s cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law to restore prescription-free emergency contraception, reversing a restriction introduced by the previous nationalist government in 2017 and delivering on a pledge of Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
According to the government, the 2017 legislation forcefully limited access to “morning after” pills, which became available over the counter in 2015 after a decision of the European Commission to authorize their prescription-free sale.
Poland’s ruling coalition has vowed to undo some policies of the former Law and Justice (PiS) party government, including one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion rules, to bring Poland back into line with European Union democratic standards.
“The topics at today’s meeting included the finalization of works regarding the so-called day-after pill. The matter has been finalized, the draft will be sent to parliament,” Tusk, a former European Council president, told a press briefing.
Tusk said the prescription-free emergency contraception would be available for women over 15 years of age, adding that he hoped the legislation would be backed in parliament and signed into law by the president.
Tusk added that his party, the Civic Coalition, is ready to submit to parliament “within hours” draft legislation legalizing abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy.
During its rule between 2015 and 2023 PiS, with backing from the powerful Polish Catholic Church, also ended state funding for in-vitro fertilization (IVF), while a 2020 ruling of the country’s top court triggered a near total ban on pregnancy terminations and widespread protests.
Pro-EU parties won a majority in an Oct. 15 election, ending eight years of PiS rule.
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