- 14 Sep 22
"It’s crucial that Government follows this excellent first step up with a widening of the age bracket in the budget at the end of the month," says Alana Ryan.
Beginning today is a free contraception scheme available to women aged 17 to 25. President Michael D. Higgins signed the The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Act into law this past July.
The scheme will cover the cost of medical consultations discussing contraception, fitting and/or removal of long-acting reversible contraception and providing the range of contraceptive options available to medical card holders (i.e. implants, IUDs, the patch, the ring, oral contraceptives, and more). It also abolishes the overnight and day case public in-patient charges for children under 16 in all public hospitals.
The Department of Health has estimated the act will save women who use contraception hundreds of euro per year. Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly described the Act as a “cost-effective measure, reducing both crisis pregnancy and termination of pregnancy rates."
“Given that the costs of prescription contraception are typically faced by women, the scheme will impact positively on gender equity, reducing costs for women, but also benefitting their partners and families, starting with women aged 17-25," continued Donnelly.
However, the National Women's Council believes this is just the first "groundbreaking step" in the direction of a more age inclusive act.
"The benefits of free contraception will be felt across society as women take control of their reproductive lives and choices," said Alana Ryan (NWC's Women's Heath Coordinator). She continued, “Some women are sexually active before the age of 17, and long after the age of 25. So it’s crucial that Government follows this excellent first step up with a widening of the age bracket in the budget at the end of the month.”