250,000 women can get free contraception in Ireland from today
The scheme will cost the state €9 million.
The Government has launched a multi-million euro scheme to give women free contraception in Ireland.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly launched the scheme on Wednesday (14 September).
From Wednesday, women aged between 17 and 25 years old will be able to avail of free contraception from GPs, primary care centres, and pharmacists who sign up to the scheme.
Consultations to access prescription contraception and the fitting and removal of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) will also be free for the cohort.
Based on census data from 2016, it is estimated that around 250,000 women in the 17-25 age cohort will be able to avail of free contraception under this scheme.
The scheme is set to cost the Government €9 million in the upcoming budget.
Plans to include free contraception in the budget were announced last year.
“I am delighted to announce the commencement of the free contraception scheme for women aged 17–25," said Donnelly.
"Women’s health is a top priority for myself and this Government and was strongly supported in Budget 2022, with €31 million additional funding for new developments in women’s health, including the €9 million for this contraception scheme.
"Today represents another big milestone in the delivery of our commitments, under the Women’s Health Action Plan 2022–2023 to improve all areas of women healthcare.
"Access to free contraception was a key recommendation accompanying the Repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and is a key element of the Women’s Health Action Plan.
"The scheme, a vital Programme for Government commitment, puts women aged 17–25 at its centre in providing a full suite of options for them to choose which form of contraception works best for them.
"We are removing any financial barriers to the age cohort for whom such barriers are most likely to be an issue”.
Contracts are being signed today with GPs, pharmacies, primary care centres, family planning centres and student health clinics to provide the free service.
More information around the scheme can be found through the HSE’s Sexual Wellbeing website.