AINA Castillo, the Balearic minister for health and consumer affairs, reacted to socialists' demands to hand out the “morning after” pill free at hospitals on request, saying that her department preferred to tackle the question of unwanted pregnancies through sex education, rather than “covering up” statistics with the morning after pill, which, she said, is not a “normal method of contraception.” Castillo said that she “respected the socialists' posture” on this question, referring to the pilot programme which the previous coalition government launched, dispensing free “morning after” pills in health centres, but, she added, “this is not the priority of the present government.” She added that prescribing the “morning after pill” is not banned, but it is not financed by the national health service and therefore will not be handed out free of charge at health centres. It is not a question of finance, she insisted, but is part of the ministry's policy. She also said it was “contradictory” that the socialists should insist that the “morning after pill” be given free, when the central (socialist) government does not include it in medicines financed by the health service. Castillo said doctors will prescribe the “morning after” pill whenever necessary.
As reported yesterday, the Balearics has the highest rate of unwanted pregnancies and abortions in Spain.

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