Free contraception is to be provided for young women from next year as part of a Budget package that will see health spending rise to a record €22.2 billion.
Free access to contraception will be given to women and girls aged 17-25. The scheme is part of a €31 million package for women’s health announced today.
The cost of fitting and removing long-term contraception such as implants will also be free. Two GP consultations per year will also be free of charge for that age group.
The Green Party has long campaigned for free access to contraception, securing a commitment in the Programme for Government and bringing a motion to the Seanad in December 2020 to seek action on this commitment.
A report on the Working Group on Access to Contraception published in 2019 identified that factors such as local access, cost, embarrassment, inconvenience and lack of knowledge were among the barriers to accessing contraception. It also highlighted that young women and vulnerable groups should be prioritised when giving free contraception.
Green Party Spokesperson for Health, Neasa Hourigan has campaigned on this issued. She has welcomed the announcement;
“This is a budget that protects young people, and access to free contraception will give young women control over their own bodies and lives, regardless of their financial means. A key inclusion on this scheme is long-acting reversible contraception such as IUDs and implants which are safe, long lasting and quickly reversible. This is an important measure that we negotiated to include in the Programme for Government and I’m proud that we have delivered on that commitment today.”
Delighted to be introducing free contraception in #Budget2022. We are starting our rollout to those aged 17-25. Those of us who campaigned for Repeal committed to progressing this, as the evidence clearly shows that cost can be a real barrier – especially for younger women. pic.twitter.com/LZNIo5TT9g
— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) October 12, 2021