Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly today launched a scheme which will provide free contraception to women in Ireland aged 17-25.
From today, contraception will be available from GPs, primary care centres and pharmacists, with €9 million funding allocated to support the scheme.
All medical consultations required to access prescription contraception, the fitting and removal of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs), and the provision of prescription contraception by pharmacists will also be free to women in this age bracket.
The scheme will also provide funding for the training and certifying of medical professionals to fit and remove LARCs, in order to reduce waiting lists for such procedures.
Speaking today, Minister Donnelly said: “Women’s health is a top priority for myself and this government and was strongly supported in Budget 2022, with €31 million additional funding for new developments in women’s health, including the €9 million for this contraception scheme.”
He said that the scheme represents “another big milestone” in government’s commitment to improving “all areas of women’s healthcare”.
He continued: “Access to free contraception was a key recommendation accompanying the Repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and is a key element of the Women’s Health Action Plan.”
“The scheme, a vital Programme for Government commitment, puts women aged 17–25 at its centre in providing a full suite of options for them to choose which form of contraception works best for them.”
“We are removing any financial barriers to the age cohort for whom such barriers are most likely to be an issue,” Donnelly concluded.
Recent years have seen a number of government schemes regarding the improvement of sexual and reprodcutive healthcare.
In 2019, then Minister for Health Simon Harris announced the provision of free condoms on university campuses.
Speaking at the time, Harris said: “It is crucial we work to reduce the number of crisis pregnancies, increase awareness about sexually transmitted infections and improve sexual health.”