A new policy took effect on Friday in Wales that will allow women and girls over the age of 13 to obtain emergency contraception free of charge and without a prescription. Welsh Health Minister Edwina Hart stated that the plan is part of an initiative to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in Wales, which hosts the highest rate of teen pregnancies in the United Kingdom.
An official from the Welsh government stated, “While (condoms) remain the best form of contraception, from 1 April, pharmacists in Wales will be able to provide the morning after pill to individuals and provide discreet counseling and advice on contraceptive use. Pharmacists have a key role to play in the reduction of unwanted pregnancies, especially when coupled with advice.”
Wales is the first country in the United Kingdom to allow women and girls to obtain emergency contraception at no cost and without a doctor’s prescription.
Levonorgestrel, sold under the brand name Plan B, is a form of emergency contraception that must be taken within 72 hours of sexual activity. Emergency contraception or the “morning-after” pill is available over the counter to women over the age of 17 in the United States.