Free contraception could become a reality for all women in Ireland
Free contraception could become a reality for all women in Ireland.
Proposals are being drawn up by the government to consider the cost and scope of introducing free contraception across the country.
Minister for Health Simon Harris told the Dáil today that plans are underway to figure out how such a scheme might work.
“This work has so far established that provision of free access to contraception methods, which are currently limited to those with eligibility through the Primary Care Reimbursement Services, would require enabling primary legislation.
“If our underlying principle is that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, then we must do all we can to reduce the number of crisis pregnancies and to support women in every way."
This comes after the Dáil debated the Oireachtas Committee's recommendation on the Eighth Amendment and Ireland's upcoming abortion referendum.
While the committee was primarily focused on abortion, issues of contraception and sex education also arose.
The Labour Party's Cllr Martina Genockey has welcomed Minister Harris's proposed changes to contraception distribution.
She called the move empowering and progressive.
“It’s great to hear this type of progressive thinking from the Health Minister on the sort of practical measures that can be taken to ensure a woman’s financial situation is not a barrier to access to contraception.
“Providing free contraception would be hugely empowering for women from all walks of life and I believe a sensible move toward reducing crisis pregnancies in the first place."
Genockey pointed to the Netherlands as an example of a country that has low abortion rates and easy access to contraception among adults.
She also said that the scheme would help women who could not afford to pay for prescription contraceptives regularly.
“For many women, and especially younger women, the costs of accessing contraception can be very expensive both for seeing their GP and then having a prescription filled.
“A free service would be of huge benefit and I welcome the statement today by the Minister for Health that he is examining that.”
Minister Harris will continue to address this issue in the coming weeks.