Sejm. The morning-after pill – debate

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The Sejm referred to the committee for further work a draft amendment to the Pharmaceutical Law, regarding access to the so-called “morning-after” pill, without a prescription, from the age of 15. – Only in Poland and Hungary additional formalities are required, which were introduced in our country by the Law and Justice government – said Ewa Szymanowska (Poland 2050 – Third Road). – We want a return to European standards. These changes in the regulations restore the situation from before 2017, said PSL MP Jolanta Zięba-Gzik.

On Thursday, MPs dealt with the report of the committee government bill amending the Pharmaceutical Law, introducing the so-called morning-after pills without a prescription. – We discussed this pill for two hours today at the health committee. Not only doctors spoke, the president of the Polish Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, Professor (Piotr) Sieroszewski. We also have a substantive opinion on the government’s draft bill (…) – said the Minister of Health Izabela Leszczyna.

– As for complications, three complications were reported out of 252,305 tablets with the substance ulipristal acetate sold last year (the active substance of the “morning after” pill – editor’s note), and these complications consisted of nausea, abdominal pain, discomfort, vomiting and headache – she emphasized. – The tablet we are talking about is available without a prescription, without an age limit of 25 European Union countries. Only for Hungary and in Poland it is available on prescription due to the decision of Minister (Konstanty – ed.) Radziwiłł in 2017 – she added.

Read also: Minister Leszczyna explains in the Sejm: if a male cell does not connect with a female cell, there is no life

Minister of Health Izabela Leszczyna in the Sejm about the “morning after” pillTVN24

– You are confusing two active substances, two different tablets. The tablet you are talking about has an active substance called levonorgestrel and this active substance is an early abortifacient, it does not allow the embryo to implant. However, we do not introduce this substance. We introduce the substance ulipristal acetate, which has nothing to do with implementation and implantation, because it does not allow the formation of an embryo. I’ll say it again. There is no embryo, no pregnancy, nothing to talk about. Stop shouting about life, the constitution, the protection of life, because we are talking about something completely different – said Leszczyna at the end of the debate.

Leszczyna: stop shouting about protecting life, because we are talking about something completely different

Leszczyna: stop shouting about protecting life, because we are talking about something completely differentTVN24

Arłukowicz (KO): this is what the elections on October 15 were about

– At the health committee, I saw PiS MPs’ concern about the side effects of the pill. They exchanged and threatened. You are so afraid for these young people, for these young girls in Poland. (…) I will tell you the worst words I have heard in the Polish public debate. This was said by PiS Health Minister (Konstanty) Radziwiłł. He said words that are shameful and should never have been said. (…) He said that as a doctor, he would not prescribe the morning-after pill to the patient, even if she had been raped – said KO MP Bartosz Arłukowicz.

– Fortunately, these eight years have passed, that’s what these were about elections October 15 – he added.

Sójka (PiS): we will encourage the availability of the tablet without a prescription for patients over 18 years of age

Katarzyna Sójka, former Minister of Health, spoke on behalf of Law and Justice during the debate on the draft bill. She drew attention to the negative effects that the substance contained in the tablets may cause. – In 2020, the 5 mg preparation with ulipristal acetate was suspended from circulation throughout the country. (…) The reason was the occurrence of a new case of severe liver damage, which required a liver transplant. Ulipristal may also slightly or moderately impair the ability to drive vehicles, she said.

– Our demands were rejected during the commission, which states that this pill should be available to women, but from the age of eighteen. Girls, girls who are fifteen years old, who are not yet fully developed in terms of their reproductive systems. An extremely important voice is also the voice of parents who have some concerns about whether such a tablet would be a solution for their children – said Sójka.

– We submitted the minority application and as a club Law and Justice – we will strive to make this tablet available without a prescription for patients over 18 years of age. However, for patients who are 15 years old, an adult should have a chance to monitor and know what is happening in the life of a 15-year-old who, due to risky situations and risky sexual intercourse, must take such a pill – she said.

Szymanowska: the drug is available without a prescription because it has been recognized as safe

Szymanowska: the drug is available without a prescription because it has been recognized as safeTVN24

Szymanowska (PL2050-TD): the drug is available without a prescription because it has been considered safe

– The “morning after” pill is a pill that must be taken as soon as possible to avoid unwanted pregnancy. This is why quick access to emergency contraception without unnecessary additional formalities is so important. Requiring a woman to make an additional doctor’s visit to obtain a prescription increases this time and increases the risk of pregnancy. In 25 European Union countries, this medicine is available without a prescription because it has been tested and found to be safe. Only in Poland and Hungary additional formalities are required, which were introduced in our country by the Law and Justice government, said Ewa Szymanowska (Poland 2050 – Third Way).

However, Szymanowska questioned the finding that the tablet can be purchased without a prescription from the age of 15. – In Poland, the so-called age of consent, at which a minor can start sexual intercourse, has been set at 15. So why are teenagers denied the opportunity to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy? – the MP asked.

Zięba-Gzik (PSL-TD): we want a return to European standards

PSL-TD MP Jolanta Zięba-Gzik announced that her club would support the bill. – I think that all of us gathered in this room do not want unwanted pregnancies, we do not want illegal abortions. We want a return to European standards. These changes in regulations restore the situation from before 2017. They enable access to emergency contraception for those who had access to it difficult under the rule of Law and Justice, said Zięba-Gzik.

Zawisza: human rights must win

Zawisza: human rights must winTVN24

Zawisza (Left Wing): human rights must win

Left MP Marcelina Zawisza said that “human rights must win.” She announced that the Left would vote for this bill. However, she said that the power of the Minister of Health to issue regulations on the availability of contraception due to age and other considerations is being reintroduced unnecessarily. According to her, this “regulation is unnecessary.” Minister, Honorable House, this provision is unnecessary. – I understand that the government majority did not accept the deletion of these unnecessary provisions and believes that the situation in which women now find themselves will really be much better than in the times of Law and Justice. Therefore, despite these reservations regarding changes to Article 96 of the Pharmaceutical Law, as a club of the Left, we will vote for the bill, she said.

Płaczek (Confederation): if the doctor doesn’t have control over it, who will?

– If the doctor doesn’t have control over all this, who will? This is about our teenagers. The act allows fifteen-year-olds to buy the pill without a prescription, but young Polish women may still not know about the risks before they reach for it. Is 15 years old the right age to take the morning-after pill without parents’ knowledge and without a doctor’s visit? What about women who are already 3 or 4 weeks pregnant and who, by taking the pill, may lose their pregnancy without knowing it yet? Are these women protected in any way by the law? No – said Grzegorz Płaczek (Confederation).

– Despite the name “morning-after pill”, it is assumed that the morning-after pill is taken within the first five days after sexual intercourse, i.e. even five days after conception. The remedy is also effective, which means that it has another effect than just stopping ovulation. As research shows, ovulation is not stopped, but delayed, said Jarosław Sachajko (Kukiz’15).

The morning-after pill – how does it work?

The morning-after pill is a type of emergency contraception, i.e. used in exceptional situations. Its purpose is to prevent pregnancy. According to the assumptions, the pill is used after unprotected sexual intercourse or when another method of contraception has failed. If taken correctly, it has an effectiveness of 97-99%. However, the pill cannot be a permanent, regularly taken method of preventing pregnancy.

SEE ALSO: The morning-after pill is to be available without a prescription. How it works? How does it differ from the abortion pill?

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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