Population Matters

Contraception ‘league table’ puts France first, Russia last

Contraception ‘league table’ puts France first, Russia last

On 14 February, The European Parliamentary Forum on Population & Development (EPF) issued an atlas mapping access to contraception across 45 European countries. The research found highly variable levels of access. Western Europe generally offered better access than Eastern Europe and European Union countries held the ten highest positions. Bulgaria and Greece are close to the bottom of the ranking, with only Russia fairing worse.

Rankings, determined by experts in sexual and reproductive health and rights, were based on access to contraceptive supplies, family planning advice and online information.

map ranking access to contraception in Europe

EPF Secretary Neil Datta commented that, “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.”

Key findings were summarised as follows,

  • All 45 countries researched need to do more to increase access to contraception
  • France ranked number one in access – it is also the country with the highest birth rate on the continent – followed by the UK and Belgium – yet even the best performers have considerable room for improvement
  • Many governments are failing to make access to contraception a priority
  • Over 43% of 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,” said Neil Datta

Neil Datta, EPF Secretary, explained that, “For a relatively small cost, governments can provide reimbursement for contraception –

graph showing ranking of access to contraception in Europe

particularly long acting and reversible contraception, such as implants and IUDs. Official government websites with information about contraceptive types and where to get them are a minuscule expense for governments, but can make a big difference to citizens seeking accurate information.”

Population Matters campaigns against the UK Government’s public health cuts and for universal access to family planning services. Slowing population growth is the most cost-effective way and sustainable way to minimise the number of wealthy carbon emitters and poorer climate change victims, while helping reduce poverty and better mitigate the effects of climate change.