Free contraception to be expanded for women aged up to 30
The free contraception scheme will be expanded for women from 16 up to 30 years of age from 1st September 2023. The announcement comes in today’s budget and sees an expansion of the scheme introduced last year for women aged 17 to 25.
This could see savings of up to €470 on the cost of prescription contraception including contraceptive implant, injection, IUCD or IUS.
The Green Party has long campaigned for free access to contraception and secured a commitment in the Programme for Government to provide free contraception on a phased basis. The scheme will cover the cost of prescription contraception, including the cost of consultations with medical professionals and the costs associated with fitting/removing various types of long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs).
Green Party Deputy Leader, Minister Catherine Martin said;
“This is important progress in the roll out of free prescription contraception for women. The Green Party will build on this progress by continuing to work towards a high-quality scheme that delivers universal, free access to contraception, as a cornerstone of women’s healthcare in Ireland. This will allow women to make informed decisions with their doctor about their own bodies and the method of contraception that best meets their needs.”
The service started roll out this month for 17 – 25 year olds through service providers who have signed up to the scheme including GPs, pharmacies, primary care centres, family planning centres and student health clinics.
Senator Pauline O’Reilly, who brought a motion to the Seanad in 2020 calling for the introduction of a free contraception scheme, added;
“We made historic progress in women’s healthcare with the repeal of the eighth amendment, but if we want an equal Ireland for every woman we must also reform other aspects of reproductive care. For women in particular, the right forms of contraception can be very expensive, costing hundreds of euro and many will choose the most affordable option available, even though a longer-term option might be more appropriate or suitable.
“This scheme will now ensure that more women in Ireland have greater access to the right form of contraception for her individual needs, allowing her to keep safe and preventing crisis pregnancies. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that this is rolled out to women of all ages in the near future.”