‘We’ve come a long way’: Free contraception programme extended for women in Ireland

‘We’ve come a long way’: Free contraception programme extended for women in Ireland

FREE contraception will be available for 27 to 30-year-olds in Ireland as of today.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced the expansion of the free contraception scheme to include women aged 27 to 30 years this morning.

“The free contraception scheme is open to women, girls and other people identifying as transgender or non-binary who are ordinarily resident in Ireland and for whom prescription contraception is deemed suitable by their doctors,” the Department of Health confirmed.

The scheme, which was launched in September 2022 for those aged 17-25, was expanded to include 26 year-olds on January 1, 2023.

It is now being made available to all women aged 17-30 inclusive.

Free contraception has been extended to woman aged 27 to 30 in Ireland

Minister Donnelly said: "I am delighted to announce the expansion of the free contraception scheme to those aged 27 - 30 years.

“Ireland has come a long way in terms of the supports it offers for sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equity and family planning,” he added.

“Increasing access to free contraception through the free contraception scheme and the National Condom Distribution Service (NCDS) is therefore a key priority for this government, supporting positive sexual health and choice in family planning.

"In the context of the current cost-of-living crisis, given that the higher costs of prescription contraception are typically faced by women, the scheme impacts positively on gender equity, reducing costs for women, their partners and families.

"Women’s health continues to be a top priority for myself and this government; today’s expansion further demonstrates our commitments to expand access to contraception and to fulfil the ancillary recommendations made by the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution."

The scheme covers the cost of consultations with GPs, family planning, student health and primary care centres and prescriptions for the wide range of contraceptive options available on the Health Service Executive (HSE) Re-Imbursement List.

These options include long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs), which include injections, implants and hormonal and copper intra-uterine devices and systems (coils).

The scheme also includes emergency contraception in addition to the oral contraceptive Pill, patch and ring. LARC fittings, removals, injections and checks are also free of charge under the scheme.

Prescriptions are dispensed at a local pharmacy of choice.

Almost 2,400 GPs and 1,950 pharmacies in Ireland have signed up to provide services and products under the scheme to date.