Educational and legal framework of access to contraception in
Reproductive Health and Research, WHO Regional Office for
“Universal access to reproductive health services by
2015” was one of the goals of the International Conference on Population
and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in1994. Most of the countries represented at
this United Nations meeting confirmed “the right of men and women to be
informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable
methods of family planning of their choice…”. One of the reproductive
rights of every person is the right to information, education, and
The WHO European Regional Strategy on Sexual and Reproductive
Health (SRH) of 2001 urges the Member States of the WHO European Region to
create supportive legislative and regulatory frameworks to: review laws and
policies to ensure that they facilitate equitable access to SRH education,
information and services, ensure that regulations and standards are in place and
necessary commodities are available on a consistent and equitable basis, and set
performance standards for the provision of services.
There are 52 Member States and they have widely differing
educational and legal frameworks for reproductive choice and access to
contraception. The educational framework is multidimensional and consists of sex
education in schools, access to information in health care institutions, the
mass media and internet sites, the role of pharmaceutical companies, as well as
the quality of educational materials.
The legal framework at the national level usually concerns the
access to contraception of specific target groups and/or to a particular kind of
contraception, as well as the licensing of primary health care providers to
deliver contraceptive services. The sexual health of adolescents has recently
been the topic of multiple research studies in the European Region and resulted
in changes in the current laws and regulations.
Examples of the effect of the educational and legal framework on
the sexual and reproductive health of the population will be presented.