Birth control, IUD, abortion, plan B, and plan C in Croatia: Guide for 2023
No matter where you live in this world, all women need to have safe, non-judgmental, and consistent access to family planning services, including birth control, IUD, plan B, plan C, and abortion.
If you are a woman living in Croatia, it’s important to know your options before you need those options. Considering that Croatia is a Catholic country, there can be some additional challenges gaining access to resources.
We bring you what you need to know about access to family planning services in Croatia and the availability of birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion.
In this post, we cover:
The facts are these…
Birth control, IUD, abortion, plan B, and plan C in Croatia
The Croatian term for birth control pills is kontracepcijske pilule or kontracepcijske tablete. They are available with a prescription from a ginekolog (gynecologist), either private or public.
Croatian state health insurance does not cover birth control pills, but some are partially covered by dopunsko, depending on your policy. View more information on dopunsko in our guide available here. The cost of pills is usually between 10,50 euros and 16 euros per month.
You must go to a gynecologist for a gynecological examination to get a prescription. If the doctor says you’re in healthy condition, they will write a prescription. You can get a prescription for only 6 months at a time and are limited to filling the prescription for 2 months’ worth at a time.
Available birth control options in Croatia are:
- Bellune 35
- Diane 35
Spirala (intrauterine device) is an effective contraception method available in Croatia, resulting in very few complications. Spirala is a small T-shaped cartridge placed in the uterus that can stay for approximately 5 years to prevent pregnancy.
There are two types of spirala:
- Bakrena spirala or copper intrauterine device (Cu-IUD) – It provokes inflammatory changes in the uterus lining and secretes cervical mucus to prevent pregnancy.
- Hormonska spirala or hormonal intrauterine device (Mirena or LNG-IUD) – It continuously releases the hormone levonorgestrel. This hormone thins the uterus lining, making periods less abundant and sometimes eliminating them. It can also correct irregular and prolonged bleeding, myomas, adenomyosis, and endometrial hyperplasia.
The cost of intrauterine devices in Croatia varies from 80 to 270 euros, depending on the type. They can be purchased at pharmacies or gynecological practices. Hormonal spiral is free of charge (state insurance covers the cost) for women with secondary anemia due to heavy periods and in cases of a thickened endometrium.
Regardless of where you buy the IUD, a gynecologist must perform the implantation. Visit a gynecologist who will first perform a medical examination. A gynecologist will insert the IUD into your uterus if you are found healthy.
Plan B, known as “the day after pill”, is called pilula za dan poslije in Croatian. Health insurance does not cover it, and it cannot be prescribed in Croatian hospitals.
This is not considered to be regular contraception but rather an “emergency measure” which is taken within 24 hours after unprotected sex has taken place. It prevents pregnancy in 95% of cases if taken within 24 hours. If taken between 48 and 72 hours after intercourse, its effectiveness drops to 61%.
You can buy Plan B in ljekarna (pharmacy) without a prescription.
There are two legal versions:
- EllaOne, which costs 41 euro
- Escapelle, which costs 26 euro
While these are available to you without a prescription, do not be surprised if a pharmacist refuses to sell them to you on religious grounds.
In 2019, Croatia approved the usage of Mifegyne 200, known as abortivna pilula (abortion pill). The pill blocks the effects of progesterone on the uterus, causing contraction and bleeding, which leads to induced medical abortion.
Mifegyne can be used until the 10th week of pregnancy. A prescription from your doctor is needed to get the pill. A pharmacy can get it in 24 to 48 hours after your order. The pill should be taken for 4 days. After that, a gynecological examination is needed.
The pill can also be used in case of fetal death, in combination with Mispregnol 400. This method gives women a less stressful and risky option that can be done at home. It eliminates the need for a kiretaža (evacuation) process, which is very unpleasant and must be done at a medical facility.
Before we dive into all options, let’s talk about the history.
History of abortion in Croatia
Abortion legislation underwent a major breakthrough in 1952 when Croatia was still part of Yugoslavia. This was in response to a significant increase in illegal abortions. When Croatia became independent in 1991 and adopted a new Constitution, the law regulating abortion was not changed. Under a 1978 law, abortion is allowed on request only during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
During the last few years, some Croatian organizations have attempted to remove women’s access to legal abortion. For example, groups called molitelji (prayers) gather in front of state hospitals to pray against abortion and harass women who come for the procedure. Luckily, many NGOs fight for women’s rights through their protests to show the community that tolerance, acceptance of our differences, and peace are the only way to build a healthy community.
Abortion after 10 weeks is allowed only in cases of sexual misconduct, potential birth defects, or any mental/psychological complications and must be approved by a commission called komisija prvog stupnja. This commission consists of a gynecologist, another physician, and a social worker or registered nurse. Considering all these hurdles, it is still not a guaranteed option and won’t be easy.
The abortion process
The woman must prove she is determined to have an abortion, and the physician must be convinced of her determination. Counseling is not required before the procedure. If the woman is under 16, the authorization of her parents or guardian and the guardianship authority is required.
A doctor must perform the procedure under good medical conditions in a healthcare establishment. The abortion must be done in a hospital within the department of gynecology or obstetrics or another authorized healthcare facility.
The abortion procedure lasts between 30 and 40 minutes. It is usually performed early in the morning, but there is a chance you could wait for several hours.
A woman must bring the following to the hospital:
- Uložak (menstrual pad)
- Čista pidžama (clean pajamas)
- Donje rublje (underwear)
Abortion cost in Croatia
Abortion is not covered by Croatian state health insurance. Abortion in Croatia feels forbidden due to the prevalence of refusals from doctors based on religious grounds. Just like pharmacists with plan B, doctors have the right to object to the procedure conscientiously.
Here are approximate abortion costs:
- Gynecological examination – 40 euros
- Blood test – 7 to 14 euros
- Procedure without anesthesia – 280 euros
- Procedure with anesthesia – 370 euros
Where you can get an abortion in Croatia
As part of Open Data Day, a female team from the organization Code for Croatia developed a map of all the facilities in Croatia that offer abortion procedures and their approximate cost. They created a map based on data collected by journalists Danka Derifaj and Mašenjka Bačić.
Mašenjka received the Balkan Scholarship Award for Journalistic Excellence for her work on the availability of pregnancy termination services to Croatian women. A BIG THANK YOU to both of them for helping women gain access to health care services.
View the map of medical facilities that offer abortion services here.
More information on abortion in Croatia is available here.
Croatia has the lowest rate of abortion in the EU/EEA, likely because it is difficult to procure and socially unacceptable. It does not have dedicated sex education in schools nor free contraception.
Since 2012, basic sex education in Croatian schools has been integrated into existing school subjects such as biology and psychology. The topics include masturbation, menstruation, pornography, sexual diseases, and sexual orientation. Elementary school subjects cover 17 hours of sex education topics, while high school subjects cover only 13 hours.
The risk of sexually transmitted diseases in Croatia is increased because:
- There is no dedicated, state-mandated sexual education
- Doctors discourage patients from getting STD tests
- There are no free government-provided sex education resources or distribution of contraception
However, you can get free STD testing with your state health insurance. Learn more about it here.
View our other family posts
- Family services and child benefits in Croatia
- How to adopt a child and adoption by foreigners
- How to apply for temporary residence in Croatia based on family reunification
- How to enroll kids in kindergarten (vrtić)
- How to enroll (or transfer) your child in a Croatian school
- How to get school books for your children in Croatia
- How to register a new child in Croatia
- How to register a person in the book of births (Matica rođenih)
- International kindergartens, elementary, and primary schools in Croatia
- Resources, institutions & associations for parents in Croatia
- School shifts in Croatian schools
Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.