Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Analysis Self Care Interventions for Sexual and Reproductive Health

Self care interventions for sexual and reproductive health and rights: costs, benefits, and financing

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 01 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1228

Self care interventions for SRHR

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Rapid Response:

Paternalism and prejudice in women’s reproductive health

[Response corrected 11 May 2019]

There are often paternalism and prejudice in reproductive health. In Japan, the emergency contraception pill (EC) needs to be prescribed by physicians and it costs as much as $80-$150 at one time [not, $800-$1500 as posted on 5 May]. Most EC is prescribed in gynecologic offices, which close at midnight and are closed at weekends.

Currently, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare are discussing online prescription of EC since it is needed urgently for preventing unintended pregnancy and abortions. However, the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have strongly opposed online prescription of EC. They are insisting that EC is dangerous medicine so tonly high skilled physicians like gynecologists should be able to prescribe it. They also insist that the women who get EC online should go to a gynecology office within three weeks.

Every day, there are about 400 abortions in Japan (160,000/year). Paternalism and prejudice have sometimes inhibited evidence-based strategies, so we also need to share knowledge to overcome the stigma.

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 May 2019
Shibata Ayako
Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Osaka Japan