Women in Ireland between the ages of 17 and 25 can avail of free contraception from today

This new scheme has been put in place to remove the financial burden around contraception for younger people.

an image of contraception pills
Image: via Unsplash

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly signed a commencement order this morning introducing free contraception for women in Ireland between the ages of 17 and 25.

“This morning I’ve signed the commencement order for the #FreeContraception scheme for women aged 17-25. A historic day for women’s health in Ireland.”

The Minister also stated that the new scheme will “impact positively on gender equity, reducing costs for women, but also benefiting their partners and families”.

The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Act 2022, which supports the free contraception scheme, was previously signed into law in July by President Michael D Higgins.

Dr Ciara McCarthy discussed what the new scheme will cover on Morning Ireland today saying “This includes prescriptions for shorter-acting items like the contraceptive pill, as well as the long-acting reversible contraceptives. These are things that people would know as the contraceptive implant or hormonal coils. The fitting and removal of these items would also be covered as well, as any checkups or follow-up care that would be needed.”

In addition to these services, emergency contraception and the morning-after pill are also included in the scheme and will be available from pharmacies free of charge.

Previously, the cost of these prescriptions were mostly covered for medical card holders but people without medical cards could pay hundreds of euros in fees and prescriptions alone.

Dr McCarthy also stated that there was no public health reason influencing the choice of women between the ages of 17 and 25 in Ireland but the younger age group has been identified as not using contraception or using less reliable contraception.

To avail of this new scheme, people must visit their GP first for their initial consultation before receiving their prescription free of charge. GPs who are offering this new service will publicise themselves and those interested are advised to check in with their local doctor for information.

It remains unclear whether or not all people with uteruses will be able to avail of the new scheme.

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