Women's Health | 

Free contraception to be rolled out to women aged 17-25 from August

The scheme is part of the €31 million women's health package that was included in the Irish government's Budget 2022 last October.

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Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The Cabinet has confirmed that free contraception for women in Ireland aged 17-25 will be rolled out next month.

The scheme is part of the €31 million women's health package that was included in the Irish government's Budget 2022 last October.

It follows a report by the Working Group on Access to Contraception, which was published in October 2019.

The report identified the barriers that exist when accessing contraception services for many people in Ireland and concluded that the 17-25 cohort as the group with the largest number of obstacles to accessibility.

Funding was secured by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, who received government approval to bring a Committee Stage amendment to provide for the free contraception scheme.

As a result, women aged 17-25 will from August have access to free implementation or removal of long-acting contraception such as an IUD, the administration of contraceptive injections plus subsequent check-ups, and two consultations with GPs and other doctors each year to discuss contraception options and receive prescriptions.

Those with full eligibility for a medical card already have access to most forms of contraception at minimal cost.

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Mr Donnelly noted that “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 added that he hopes the scheme will empower “young women to discuss forms of contraception suitable to their personal circumstances and medical conditions.”

Responding to the decision to approve the legislation, Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly said: “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“A huge leap forward was made when we, as a nation, repealed the eighth amendment of the Constitution but if we are truly a progressive country it is time to deal with other aspects of reproductive care,” she added.

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