A number of years ago the Health Ministry’s health services basket committee authorized the free availability of "morning after" contraception pills for youngsters, under the age of 20, after the committee found that some woman may avoid using contraceptives after having unprotected sex, due to the cost.
However, it was then revealed that female IDF recruits lack the ability to take the contraceptive pills within the required time for them to be effective. Because soldiers are not insured by a health cooperative during their service, they must make an appointment at one of six special clinics across the country, but by the time of their appointment, it is generally too late for the pill to work, leaving them only with the option of paying NIS 100 for the pill at a public pharmacy.
But the IDF and the Defense Ministry have recently changed their policy, and female recruits can now receive the contraceptive pill within a matter of hours of having unprotected sex by calling a support hotline, available all year round, including weekends and holidays.
A soldier who calls during the week will immediately receive a prescription for the pill either by email or through her unit’s doctor and she can take it to the nearest civilian pharmacy in order to receive it free of charge.
Soldiers who call the hotline on weekends receive authorization to purchase the pill from the pharmacy, and can later submit the receipt to their unit to receive a refund.
The policy is designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies among soldiers during their mandatory IDF service.
Morning-after pills are generally effective up to 120 hours after having unprotected sex. Recently, the Health Ministry ruled that girls under the age of 14 can receive the pill without the need for a prescription after discovering that many turned to illicit methods in order to obtain the medication.