- Sex & Drugs
- 29 Jun 22
Cabinet has approved free contraception and services for female-identifying people aged 17-25, due to be implemented this August.
After receiving the Report of the Working Group on Access to Contraception, published October 2019, the government has approved the provision of free contraception for 17-25 year old female-identifying people.
While this age group is hopefully just the starting point of a much larger access pool, this group has the largest number of identified cost barriers.
Typically, people from this age group are still dependent on parents or guardians, encounter increased barriers to accessibility, less education, workforce difficulties, and grapple with cost concerns. If these women are just above the means-tested threshold for GMS or GP visit cards, it adds yet another access barrier.
Funding was secured by the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly. With government approval and money, a Committee Stage amendment will take effect to support the programme.
As a result of this action, 17-25 year-old women will have access to:
- The implementation and/or removal of various types of long-acting reversible contraception
- The administration of contraceptive injections plus any necessary checks by certified medical professionals
- A maximum of two consultations per year with GPs and other doctors to discuss contraception options and receive prescriptions
The funding will also cover the cost of training and certifying additional personnel to be able to provide these services. Like the starting age group, this is just the beginning of the services Donnelley hopes to secure.
As the Minister for Health rightfully points out, "contraception is not specifically a women’s health issue, nor do many women use contraception solely as a means of preventing unwanted pregnancy. Contraception is used to treat a myriad of other women’s health issues, and a key element of the scheme I am introducing will cover the cost of up to two consultations per annum with a GP or other doctors, empowering young women to discuss forms of contraception suitable to their personal circumstances and medical conditions."
Costs for the pill and similar repeat prescription contraceptives can be roughly estimated at €65-100 every six months. The initial costs of long-acting reversible contraception typically range from €250 to €320.
These services are expected to be fully available at no cost in August 2022 to women 17-25.
Responding to today’s decision, Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly said that “given the history of the State with regard to women, women are now owed proper healthcare and I am delighted that we are taking the next step today”.
“A huge leap forward was made when we, as a nation, repealed the eighth amendment of the Constitution but if we are truly a progressive country it is time to deal with other aspects of reproductive care,” O’Reilly said.
The senator said that “for women in particular, the right forms of contraception can be very expensive, costing hundreds of euro”.
She said access to contraception can improve safety and prevent crisis pregnancies.
18 months ago I had a motion passed to bring free contraception to Ireland. Today the legislation has been agreed by government and we are a step closer. Thank you to all of the advocates and in particular @dublinwellwoman @AkiDwA @IrishFPA for their advocacy and support ✊ https://t.co/YIlkQbFjhB
— Senator Pauline O'Reilly (@paulinegalway) June 28, 2022