Lifestyle & Belief

The 8 most surprising nations that still require a prescription for birth control

Updated:

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Prescription contraceptives for women sit on the counter of a drug store in Los Angeles on Aug. 1, 2011.

Credit:

Kevork Djansezian

Updated: The US Supreme Court has ruled that business owners can object on religious grounds to a new healthcare provision requiring some companies to provide health insurance that covers birth control.

The top court in the Philippines has upheld a controversial law that requires health centers run by the government to hand out free condoms and birth control pills. It also requires sex education to be part of the school curriculum.

It's a stunning decision in a country that's largely Catholic.

While birth control pills are informally available without a prescription in the Philippines, they still cost enough that many cannot afford them.

Supporters of the ruling said it would transform the lives of millions of poor Filipinos trying to avoid pregnancy.

Most women in the world have access to birth control without a prescription, according to a 2012 study by the Oral Contraceptives Over-the-Counter Working Group.

The Philippines now joins countries like Pakistan, Ukraine, China and Guatemala, which offer contraceptives without a prescription.

The United States remains one of 45 countries that still ban over-the-counter birth control.

Here's a look at the eight most surprising nations that require a prescription, along with their birth rates and rates of abortion:

 

1. United States

(Mario Tama Getty Images)

Birth rate: 13.42 births per 1,000 people

Abortion rate: 20.8 abortions per 1,000 people

 

2. Canada

(Geoff Robins AFP/Getty Images)

Birth rate: 10.29 births per 1,000 people

Abortion rate: 15.2 abortions per 1,000 people

 

3. Australia

(Sergio Dionisio AFP/Getty Images)

Birth rate: 12.19 births per 1,000 people

Abortion rate: 19.7 abortions per 1,000 people

 

4. Norway

(Scott Olson Getty Images)

Birth rate: 12.09 births per 1,000 people

Abortion rate: 15.2 abortions per 1,000 people

 

5. France

(AFP/Getty Images)

Birth rate: 12.49 births per 1,000 people

Abortion rate: 16.9 abortions per 1,000 people

 

6. New Zealand

(Hannah Johnston AFP/Getty Images)

Birth rate: 13.40 births per 1,000 people

Abortion rate: 19.7 abortions per 1,000 people

 

7. Japan

(AFP/Getty Images)

Birth rate: 8.07 births per 1,000 people

Abortion rate: 12.3 abortions per 1,000 people

 

8. United Kingdom

(Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images)

Birth rate: 12.22 births per 1,000 people

Abortion rate: 17.0 abortions per 1,000 people