Belgium: reducing financial barriers to EC pills and other contraceptives

February 2020. On February 21st, the Council of Ministers of the Belgium Federal Government, approved the Royal Decree that will make emergency contraception (EC) pills free of charge to all women, regardless of age. Until now, EC pills could be provided free of charge to women under 21. In addition, under this new policy, regular contraception pills will also be made available free of cost to women up to 25 years of age (until now, this cover women until age 20). These measures are expected to cost the Federal Government over 6 million euros annually, and to entry into force by April 1st.

In the past few years, Belgium has intensified efforts to make contraception information and methods more accessible: new reimbursement schemes (also for long-term contraception); special arrangements for young people; and government supported websites such as zanzu.be and allesoverseks.be. This won Belgium the first position in the Contraception Atlas of 2019, along with France.