New statistics released this week show a dramatic drop in the number of abortions in the Czech Republic over the last ten years. One of the reasons is that more and more women are using the pill. But, as Lucie Krupicková reports, the social changes following the fall of communism have also played a positive role:
The decrease in the number of abortions in the Czech Republic is enormous. Whereas in 1990 there were over 100,000, last year the number of cases had fallen to 32,000. I asked the leading sex therapist Petr Weiss why:
"I think that it is connected with a much bigger choice in the Czech Republic 10 years after revolution. People can travel, can study, can realize themselves in their professions much more than before. In communist era for instance the age of our brides was the lowest in whole Europe. It is necessary to say that Czechoslovakia, and especially Czech Repulic, before the revolution was one of the countries with the highest rate of abortions in Europe. So I am wondering why this very dramatic fact and the prove that we are aproximating European standards is not much more insisted in media."
More than one third of women in the Czech Republic use either oral or intrauterine contraception. The figure is three times greater than in 1989, and the enormous increase is due mainly to the rising number of young women between 18 - 25 who take the pill. And according to Dr Weiss, the abortion rate is likely to keep falling:
"I hope that it will decrease more in future because hormonal contraception now is with much less secondary risk and I think that the youngs now will behave much more responsible than their mothers."
Experts say scientists are less than a decade away from producing a reliable oral contraceptive for men. Dr Weiss's colleague Radim Uzel says the male pill would be slightly different due to the different biological makeup of men and women. While the female pill is hormonal, pills for men will affect the man's immune system. Dr Uzel says a realiable male contraception pill is likely to appear in about ten years - whether Czech men take to the idea as warmly as their female partners remains to be seen.
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