Late last month, the Morning After Pill, or Morning After Un Rollo, became available for sale throughout Spain without the need of a doctorâ€™s prescription nor parental consent. Women of all ages, most in their teens, made a b-line to their local pharmacies to purchase the emergency contraception without a drop of hesitation.
The news made me ponder the irony of the situation. On one hand it was a very progressive move considering that Spain is an extremely Catholic country. The majority of holidays fall into the realm of religion relating to the celebration of some Santo even though I have yet to meet an Espanol that can tell me what festivos coincide with what Saint. In the States, there may not be so many holidays but any 5th grader can name all the major holidays that Americans celebrate.
But the Catholic Church and the countryâ€™s conservatives did make themselves heard with a large outcry that began back in May when Trinidad Jimenez, the Health Minister of Spain, announced a new strategy to prevent unwanted births and pregnancies. The over-the-counter release of the pill comes in conjunction with a new law that allows girls as young as 16 to seek out abortions without their parents aprobacion which was previously needed. El Padre almost pooped in his pants!
Understandably, the biggest worry from those that are against the new reform, parents and pharmacists included, is the probability that women will view the pill as a replacement for condoms and/or birth control pills. A reasonable concern backed by an epidemic in 2006 where in the region of Galicia it was recorded that teenage girls were abusing the pill despite, at that time, the need for parental consent. Doctors werenâ€™t recording the number of repeated visits by the teens and the young couples seeking the pill didnâ€™t recognize nor care that pill was designed to be used as an option in an emergency.
The Minister has stressed since the introduction the law that the Morning After Pill is only to be used in emergency situations and should not be substituted for other means of contraception. Furthermore, those that purchase the Pill will receive three separate leaflets from their pharmacist discussing: correct usage and secondary affects; how to prevent sexually transmitted disease; and the last on other methods of birth control.
At 18.76â‚¬ you can put your mind at ease after one-night-stand rollo or a contraceptive accident that involved you and your man.
Its good to know that its available but I am not sure if I personally would feel comfortable popping the pastilla without a charla with a medico first. Nor do I feel comfortable that a 15 year-old girl can saunter into her pharmacia and casually ask for the drug. I am not a mother (yet) but I am a tia and that makes me cringe.
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