Spanish Health Minister seeks to have abortion pill distributed nationwide free of charge

.- Spain’s Health Minister, Elena Salgado, is set to propose to all of Spain’s autonomous communities that the morning after pill be distributed nationwide free of charge.

Speaking to reporters of the Spanish newspaper, “La Razon”, sources from the Health Ministry said the intention of the government is for the pill to be distributed throughout the country beginning in 2005, since up to now it is only available in Andalusia, Extremadura, Navarra, Cantabria y Catalonia.

The decision is based on a non-binding proposition which the health committee of the House of Representatives sent to the government last October 6 and which promotes the free distribution of the abortion pill under physician guidance.

According to La Razon, the Health Ministry will make a decision “after a detailed analysis is concluded” on the cost this pill entails in the five regions that currently distribute it.

The newspaper recalled that one of the first objects of the Spanish socialist party upon assuming power “was to promote the necessary conditions” so that the pill would be available in all emergency rooms throughout the country “to lessen the number of abortions.”  However, the report mentioned nothing about the abortifacient nature of the morning after pill. 

La Razon reported that the drug, which is commercialized in Spain under the name of Norlevo, “can produce side-effects” in those who use it, such as intestinal problems, chest pain, changes in the menstrual cycle and even ectopic pregnancy, “which can endanger the life of the mother, if it fails.” 

In March of 2003, family members of 100 British women sued three laboratories that manufacture the pill, alleging they were not warned about the risks and possible side-effects, which led to the deaths of seven women.

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