Polish government moves ahead with “Plan B” morning-after pill to avoid presidential veto

The pro-European Polish government announced this Friday that it will introduce its “Plan B” to liberalize access to the morning-after pill in Poland, bypassing conservative President Andrzej Duda's veto on the reform.

Poland's president today vetoed a bill to liberalize the morning-after pill in the country, an expected veto by the new pro-European government, which it said it was prepared to avoid.

Poland has seen women's reproductive rights backslide during eight years of government by the nationalist and populist Law and Justice (PiS) party.

In keeping with its election promises, the pro-EU coalition led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk and in power since December adopted a bill aimed at free access to the morning-after pill from the age of 15. Currently, its prescription is only approved in Poland with a doctor's prescription.

Andrzej Duda, a PiS ally and self-proclaimed Catholic, “asks Parliament to return the amendment to the law on medicinal products and reconsider the law (veto),” according to a press release from the Presidency published today.

The head of state justified his refusal by respecting “standards to protect children's health”.

Andrzej Duda, according to the same statement, “legal solutions that allow minors under 18 years of age to access contraceptives without medical supervision and without taking into account the role and responsibility of parents” are unacceptable.

However, the head of state “declared himself open to the remedies provided in the law in question, with regard to older women (above 18 years of age)”.

“We're introducing plan B,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk responded on the social network X (formerly Twitter), lamenting that the president had not taken “an opportunity to stand with women.”

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Anticipating a presidential veto, the government announced it would waive Tuda's ban, allowing pharmacists to prescribe the pill.

“A regulation is in the final consultation stage (…). This tablet medicine will be available on prescription”, announced Health Minister Isabella Lessina, from May 1 by a pharmacist.

According to the governor, the president “behaved hypocritically”.

“Against abortion, we cannot declare ourselves defenders of life, while emergency contraception available in 25 European Union (EU) countries is a bad thing,” the ministers told the television channel. TVN24.

Magdalena Biejat, vice-president of the upper house of parliament from the Esquerda Junta party, condemned the decision of the head of state and determined that young women should have access to the morning-after pill, just like adult women, “because young women, girls can also get pregnant.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), emergency contraception should be “systematically included” in all national family planning programs.

The debate over the morning-after pill coincides with efforts to liberalize Polish law on abortion, one of the strictest in Europe, which is legal only if it is the result of rape or intercourse, or if it threatens life or health. female mother

Four bills aimed at liberalizing abortion have already been submitted to parliament, but work has yet to begin, pending a green light from the speaker of the lower house of parliament.

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