On Monday, January 15th, Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced that the "morning-after pill" would be available without a prescription. The head of the Council of Ministers ensured free access to contraception.
During the campaign leading up to the 2023 parliamentary elections, Donald Tusk emphasised his commitment to fighting for women's rights if he came into power. As part of this, the Civic Coalition has introduced a proposal for legal abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy. On Monday, January 15th, the head of the Council of Ministers made an additional promise. Donald Tusk said he wishes to make the morning-after pill available without a prescription.
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Pill that was promised
During the press conference, Donald Tusk gave a speech on freedom and women's rights. He emphasised the importance of ensuring free access to all forms of contraception, including the "morning-after pill".
Tusk pointed out that the morning-after pill is a contraceptive product that is authorised for sale and widely used. He expressed confusion as to why it is still included in the list of prescription-only medicines, which restricts access for those who need it.
"We are discussing the availability of the 'morning-after pill' as a form of contraception. Following discussions within the government coalition, we have decided to propose an amendment to the law jointly. This will allow for easier access to this type of contraceptive without the need for a prescription," stated Donald Tusk.
Activists have their say
Back in 2019, the nationwide social movement known as "Dziewuchy dziewuchom" aimed to educate people on the nature of the morning-after pill, clarifying that it is not an induced miscarriage, as opponents often claim.
"Emergency contraception is not the same as inducing a miscarriage. What’s the difference? The ‘morning-after pill’ is used to prevent pregnancy. It works in the same way as hormonal contraception - it blocks ovulation. It is only available in Poland by prescription. On the other hand, medical abortion pills are taken to terminate an existing pregnancy. They can be safely used up to the 12th week of pregnancy because the risk of complications increases after this time. In Poland, abortion pills are not freely available in pharmacies; they can only be purchased abroad," reads the Facebook page of "Dziewuchy dziewuchom".
According to the Foundation for Women and Family Planning's website (FEDERA), there are two types of day-after pills available on the market. The levonorgestrel tablet, known as Escapelle, must be taken within 72 hours of intercourse, while the ulipristal acetate tablet, known as ellaOne, must be taken within 120 hours.
The website also highlights that the morning-after pill should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse. It's important to note that ellaOne is considered safe by the European Medicines Agency and doesn't require a prescription from a medical professional, as stated in 2014.