"This removes an important barrier to access," Valeria Isla, director of sexual and reproductive health at the ministry said, [Representation image] Mensent Photography/Gettyimages

For emergency contraception, women in Argentina will no longer need a prescription.

The government said that by making the morning-after pill more accessible, an "important barrier" to people seeking abortions was eliminated.

Feminist organizations applauded the action because they regard it as a sign of advancement in the nation with a Catholic majority.

However, detractors claimed that the action demonstrated a "failure of pregnancy prevention."

The health ministry said the measure would help avoid unintentional pregnancies by overcoming "difficulties of access to health services, contraception supplies, and education" faced by some.

"This removes an important barrier to access," Valeria Isla, director of sexual and reproductive health at the ministry, told Reuters news agency. "People can have this method of contraception as support before an emergency happens."

The move would help "de-stigmatize" the morning-after pill in a country where seven out of 10 adolescent pregnancies were unplanned, official data show, Vanessa Gagliardi, leader of the feminist group Juntas y a la Izquierda said.

Argentine pro-life group DerguiXlaVida said the measure worrying, accusing the government of "essentially orienting itself towards promoting abortive measures."

It mentioned the move was a recognition of the "failure of pregnancy prevention [and] sex education."

Argentina's decision to allow the over-the-counter purchase of the morning-after pill is a significant step forward for reproductive rights in the country.

The move is particularly noteworthy in Argentina, which is one of the largest and most influential countries in Latin America, where the Catholic Church wields considerable influence, BBC reported.

In 2020, Argentina legalized abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy, despite opposition from the Church, which had urged senators to reject the bill.

Previously, terminations were only permitted in cases of rape or when the mother's health was in danger.

The morning-after pill, also known as emergency contraception, can be taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy by inhibiting fertilization, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Its effectiveness is greater within 12 hours.

Emergency contraception, which includes emergency contraceptive pills and copper-bearing intrauterine devices, can prevent approximately 95% of pregnancies when used within five days of intercourse, as stated by the WHO.

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