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The 8 most surprising nations that still require birth control Rx
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The 8 most surprising nations that still require birth control Rx

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The top court in the Philippines upheld a controversial law Tuesday that requires health centers run by the government to hand out free condoms and birth control pills. It also requires sex education to be part of the school curriculum.

It's a stunning decision in a country that's largely Catholic.

While birth control pills are informally available without a prescription in the Philippines, they still cost enough that many cannot afford them.

Supporters of the ruling said it would transform the lives of millions of poor Filipinos trying to avoid pregnancy.

Most women in the world have access to birth control without a prescription, according to a 2012 study by the Oral Contraceptives Over-the-Counter Working Group.

The Philippines now joins countries like Pakistan, Ukraine, China and Guatemala, which offer contraceptives without a prescription.

The United States remains one of 45 countries that still ban over-the-counter birth control.

Here's a look at the eight most surprising nations that require a prescription, along with their birth rates and rates of abortion:

1. The United States

  • Birth rate: 13.42 births per 1,000 people
  • Abortion rate: 20.8 abortions per 1,000 people

2. Canada

  • Birth rate: 10.29 births per 1,000 people
  • Abortion rate: 15.2 abortions per 1,000 people

3. Australia

  • Birth rate: 12.19 births per 1,000 people
  • Abortion rate: 19.7 abortions per 1,000 people

4. Norway

  • Birth rate: 12.09 births per 1,000 people
  • Abortion rate: 15.2 abortions per 1,000 people

5. France

  • Birth rate: 12.49 births per 1,000 people
  • Abortion rate: 16.9 abortions per 1,000 people

6. New Zealand

  • Birth rate: 13.40 births per 1,000 people
  • Abortion rate: 19.7 abortions per 1,000 people

7. Japan

  • Birth rate: 8.07 births per 1,000 people
  • Abortion rate: 12.3 abortions per 1,000 people

8. United Kingdom

  • Birth rate: 12.22 births per 1,000 people
  • Abortion rate: 17.0 abortions per 1,000 people

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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