Period Pills in Other Countries Today
The concept of interventions that ensure non-pregnancy without first establishing whether or not a pregnancy exists is not new, and exists cross-culturally. Both Bangladesh and Cuba formally promote menstrual regulation as a fertility control option, and anecdotally, this concept is culturally resonant in at least some parts of Burma/Myanmar, India, Indonesia, and throughout Latin America.
Though abortion is illegal in Bangladesh, menstrual regulation, which ensures a state of non-pregnancy when menses are delayed, has been both legal and promoted in Bangladesh since 1979. It is available up to ten weeks after a person’s last menstrual period, and may be done using medication or by a procedure like vacuum aspiration. Researchers believe that access to menstrual regulation has been an important factor in decreasing maternal mortality in Bangladesh. The Guttmacher Institute provides more information on menstrual regulation in Bangladesh.
In Cuba, menstrual regulation is one of a suite of government-provided fertility options that include contraception and safe, legal abortion. Unlike in Bangladesh, where menstrual regulation takes the place of legalized abortion, in Cuba it is a very early alternative available in the first two weeks after a period is missed and before a legal abortion can be offered.