Country rankings on access to contraception in 45 European countries
The Contraception Atlas at www.ContraceptionInfo.eu is a map that scores 45 countries in Europe on access to modern contraception. It was launched on 14 February in Brussels. The scores are based on access to contraceptive supplies, family planning counselling and online information. They reveal a very uneven picture across Europe.
The European Parliamentary Forum on Population & Development (EPF) produced the Atlas in partnership with Third-i, while experts in sexual and reproductive health and rights designed the methodology.
“Access to contraception should be a key concern of governments in empowering citizens to plan their families and lives. Yet every country we analysed should be doing more to improve access. Our findings show that for many European countries, ensuring that people have control over their reproductive lives is not a priority,” commented Neil Datta, EPF Secretary. “This is borne out by statistics on unintended pregnancy: over 43% pregnancies in Europe are unintended. Contraception is used by 69.2% of European women aged between 15 and 49 who are married or living with a partner – lower than the usage rates of both the North America and Latin America/Caribbean regions.”
France is the number one country for access to contraception in Europe. It is also the country with the highest birth rate on the continent. In general, Western Europe has better access to contraception than Eastern Europe. However, one notable exception is Moldova sits in fourth place.
European Union countries dominate the top ten places; however, there are also six EU member states among the ten worst performing states. Bulgaria and Greece are close to the very bottom but Russia does worst.
Eleven countries have a very good or excellent government supported website with information on the various types of contraception, where to get it, and whether it is reimbursed. Many other countries have websites run by pharmaceutical companies or NGOs, but six countries had no website of any kind providing information on contraceptives (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece and Russia). Some of these same countries have a very low contraceptive use rate, a high rate of abortion and a high prevalence of myths about contraception.
Twenty-five countries do not provide any type of reimbursement for contraception. Slovakia has a law explicitly forbidding any kind of reimbursement for contraception. Of the countries that do reimburse, the level of reimbursement varies greatly. Turkey provides certain contraceptive supplies free of charge at public health centres, but only to married women.
Emergency contraception is legal in all 45 countries surveyed. However, in Albania, Hungary, and Russia, a prescription is still required to obtain emergency contraception.