Spain: new data on EC use among youth

October 2019. According to the National Survey on Sexual Health and Contraception among Spanish Youth, promoted by the Spanish Society of Contraception (SEC), 29,7% of young women have ever used emergency contraception (EC) pills. These figures vary when broken down by ages: 14,4% of 16 to 18 years old have ever used EC; 19,9% of 19 to 21 years old; and 34,5% of 22 to 25 years old.

On average, Spanish youth has used EC 1,49 times in their life time. When asked about the reasons why they resourced to EC, 68,5% mention condom rupture; 22,7% misuse or non-use of regular methods; and 5,2% because having missed the pill.

The survey inquired over 1200 individuals of ages between 16 to 25 during July 2019. For more information on the survey findings (in Spanish), see here.

In 2018, a different survey also sponsored by the SEC, found that 30% of sexually active women of ages 15 to 49, had ever used EC. See more details in the survey report (in Spanish, here).


Spain: 10 years of prescription-free access to EC pills

October 2019. In Spain, LNG EC pills are sold without prescription since 2009, and UPA EC pills since early 2016.  According to the news agency EFE, in this 10-year period, over 7 million units have been sold in the country.

According to the General Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists of Spain, pharmacists have a guide that details the general rules for EC dispensation, unifies criteria on the protocol of action, and provides answers to the most frequent ethical-legal considerations.

Click here to read more (in Spanish).



Malta: what to expect when buying EC?

September 2019. In Malta, a women’s on-line discussion forum called for more sensitivity and clear direction for those wanting to buy emergency contraception (EC) pills from pharmacies.

A series of articles published in The Times of Malta picked up the story and opened a discussion about the terms in which women obtain EC pills at the pharmacy, and the fact that since the protocols or guides for pharmacy dispensation are known to the general public, women cannot know what to expect.

Read more on The Times of Malta articles here:

First participatory survey on pharmacy access to EC in Europe.

Help us learn more about how real access to emergency contraception (EC) is in Europe! 

July / Sept 2019. The European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YouAct) and ECEC, launch the first participatory survey on pharmacy access to EC in Europe. With this effort, we want to:

  • Learn how EC products are placed and stocked in community pharmacies
  • Identify different EC counselling practices and models
  • Assess if different post-coital contraceptive choices are offered to individuals
  • Update information on the cost of EC pills.

This project is done with technical and logistical support from a research team from the University of Ottawa (Canada) and inspired by a similar initiative conducted by the American Society for Emergency Contraception (ASEC).  Please find the link to the survey here:

In Albanian:

In Bosnian:

In Croatian:

In English:

In French:

In Spanish: 

The survey can be responded in less than 10 minutes from your cell phone.  Please help us in this effort to identify the remaining barriers to timely access to EC in our countries, and advance our reproductive rights to post-coital contraception.  

Thank you for your collaboration, and enjoy the summer!  

The YouAct and ECEC teams.  

Turkey: new resource for EC information

July 2019. DKT Turkey recently launched an emergency contraception (EC) website to inform and educate about this method. The site, written entirely in Turkish, uses easy-to-understand language to describe how and when to use three different EC methods (UPA and LNG EC pills, and the Cu-IUD). It also directs visitors to a list of longer-term, more sustainable contraceptive options. DKT is an international NGO charity that since 1989 works  to provide safe and affordable options for family planning and HIV prevention through social marketing.


How accessible is EC in Europe?

July 2019. Levonorgestel (LNG) and ulipristal acetate (UPA) emergency contraception (EC) pills are registered as prescription-free medical products in most European countries. Does this mean all women in Europe have the same access to EC?

Anecdotal data suggests that we don’t: In the United Kingdom, pharmacists’ objection to dispensing EC, based on misinformation, myths or their own moral values, has been recently reported as a remaining obstacle to buy EC. In Malta, Doctors for Choice report that many pharmacies in populated locations do not stock EC pills, and the national health service does not provide them. Pharmacies that stock EC are accessible only during specific and limited times of the day.

In order to learn more about how real access to EC is in different European countries, the European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YouAct) and ECEC, in cooperation with the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Ottawa, will soon launch a participatory online survey. Stay tuned. We hope you will help us gather information from your country!

This initiative is inspired by the America Society for Emergency Contraception biennial survey on EC access in the United States of America.

Overweight, Obesity and Contraception: new clinical guideline by the FSRH

May 2019. The UK’s Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) just published Overweight, Obesity and Contraception, a guideline that brings together evidence and expert opinion on the provision of contraception to women who are overweight and women with obesity. Recommendations are based on available evidence and the consensus opinion of experts and the guideline development group (GDG).

With regards to emergency contraception, the guideline provides the following key information and clinical recommendations (see page ix of the document): Continue reading

More on Europe and contraception in our Publications page

April 2019. We recently updated our Publications page to include resources from colleague organizations, focused on reproductive rights and access to contraception in Europe. This valuable references, which may be of use for your work promoting EC access in our region, can be found here:

  • European Parliament Resolution: Experiencing backlash in women’s rights and gender equality in the EU ( 2019).
  • WHO Europe: Action Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health: Towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Europe – leaving no one behind.
  • European Parliamentary Forum: Limited Access: Europe’s Contraception Deficit –  A White Paper (2018).
  • Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe (2017).