At the beginning of 2019, Lithuanian Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists asked the State Commission on Drugs and Medicine Reimbursement to provide reimbursement for hormonal contraception (hormonal IUD) for girls and young women of 15-20 years old. The proposal was based on intent to help young women avoid unwanted pregnancies, eliminate price barriers for accessing modern contraceptives and ultimately ensure access to contraception to all those in need, especially the young and vulnerable. This April, after the decision of the Commission, the Minister of Health signed a decree providing reimbursement of hormonal IUD’s for young women.
However, May brought a lot of pressure from those opposing the new decree (namely religious NGOs, several parliamentarians and doctors raising concerns regarding the “dangers” of the introduced solution) and the Minister decided to withhold the project until further clarification on possible dangers of hormonal contraception.
A group of progressive parliamentarians organized a press conference and wrote an appeal to the Minister of Health. Additionally, numerous appeals of women’s rights NGOs were sent to the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament and to Lithuanian President. Unfortunately, the Minister of Health is yet to decide on further steps, leaving hundreds of young women unsure of their situation. Many believe that the outcry around reimbursement is related to the coming parliamentary elections in October 2020 and the Minister is stalling in order to gain support from the more conservative part of Lithuanian society.