Recent law and policy changes in fertility control
Over 40 countries have either updated or initiated laws and policies related to family planning since mid 1974. These changes reveal a continuing trend towards the liberalization of attitudes and practices related to fertility control and have occurred in the areas of national plans and programs, contraceptive methods and distribution, voluntary sterilization, and the use of economic incentives and disincentives. The countries of Australia, Belgium, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, and New Zealand have established commissions or councils to study all phases of family planning law and services and to recommend new programs or ways to make existing programs more effective. Mexico and Thailand have added provisions to their constitutions, emphasizing government support at the federal level for information programs and services. Italy's parliament has given local municipalities authority to establish counseling and information centers on contraceptive methods and services. Over 12 countries have instituted legal changes concerning contraceptive distribution programs by using existing family planning clinics and non physicians. The Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Federal Republic of Germany have approved the sale of condoms through commercial or retail outlets. Iran, Iraq, and the Philippines removed prescription requirements for oral contraceptives. Japan, for the 1st time, approved the use of IUDs. In Chile, non physicians have obtained permission to insert IUDs and to distribute oral contraceptives.