Women’s Association Welcomes Morning After Pill News And Calls For Sexual Health Clinic

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The Gibraltar Women’s Association has welcomed the news that the morning after pill is finally being prescribed over the counter in pharmacies.A statement from the GWA continued: “As far back as in November 2014, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended a change in classification in status from prescription to non prescription for emergency contraceptive pill in the EU. Following this the European commission issued an implementing decision that UPA ECP should be available without prescription. The morning after pill is a dose of hormones which delay ovulation and therefore avoid conception for those whose regular contraception has failed them and it is an individual choice on whether to buy them or not. Its availability reduces social issues such as unwanted pregnancies and abortions, where locals have to venture into Spain. Modernisation in this field brings contraception into the open and encourages couples to discuss this without fear. We are one of the last nations in Europe to offer this choice. 

“We continue to state that religion should be separate from state decisions completely. We are highly concerned that there are currently doctors, employed by the GHA, who are able to put their personal beliefs before the best interests of their patient and can opt out of prescribing the morning after pill. Although we believe the patient is told their allocated doctor will not prescribe it if they mention the reason for the appointment, the likelihood of the appointment reason being disclosed is small due to confidentiality issues. The small window of time that this pill works with is then compromised. We are therefore also now concerned about how many other issues are reliant on a doctor’s beliefs rather than professional judgment.“The GWA wish to encourage the government to regulate the price of this medication to make it accessible to those who need it. “In addition, the GWA have been actively petitioning the Government to introduce sexual health and reproductive clinics which focus on all aspects of sexual health, disease, smears and reproductive advice. This has been very positively received by the Minister for Health and we are optimistic for this to be achieved in the near future.“We have also asked the Minister for Education to introduce to Gibraltar adequate sex education focusing on relationships.   It should aim to encourage teenagers and young adults to take responsibility for their bodies and reproductive health in a positive and open way. Sexual relationships should be based on emotions and mutual respect and the youth need to be confident in their knowledge to stay safe and develop open healthy relationships. This and respect of gender issues is especially important because of the implementation of co-ed schools and the subsequent change to the current system. In March 2017 the UK government introduced changes to the Children and Social Work bill recommending changes the PSHE curriculum and we believe that Gibraltar needs to introduce similar education by the next school term as current PSHE curriculum is insubstantial.“We commend Minister Costa for his progressive actions and look forward to future changes with anticipation.”