Time to Consider Giving Irish Women ‘the Pill’ for Free– Donnelly

Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly, has said it’s time to look at the possibility of offering Irish women the contraceptive pill for free.

Deputy Donnelly was speaking after the government announced that a working group is to be set up to examine how cost barriers can be removed for women trying to access contraception.

The group will look at the extent to which cost is deterring women from buying contraception and what other factors could be making it difficult for them to get contraceptives.

Stephen Donnelly explained, “Last August, my party highlighted the benefit of broadening Irish women’s access to oral contraception. The Irish Pharmacy Union also backed the establishment of a scheme by which women in this country could get the ‘pill’ for free from their pharmacist, without a prescription.

 “While the new working group is welcome, we need to remember that Ireland remains in the 31% of countries internationally that continues to restrict access to the pill by prescription. The cost of attending a private physician or GP to get a prescription is often a barrier for women needing to access hormonal contraception to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

“The oral contraceptive pill is available over the counter in over 100 countries worldwide making the cost far less. Any real or meaningful attempt to increase the use of contraception among women here in Ireland largely depends on making it more readily available to every woman, not just those that can afford it.

“As legislators we have a responsibility to look at reducing restrictions for women to access safe, effective and affordable birth control. Exploring progressive policy proposals to reduce the existing restrictions for women to access birth control can only be of benefit to society as a whole.  We don’t know yet if it’s entirely possible but it’s definitely time to consider the possibility of offering all women ‘the pill’ for free” Deputy Donnelly concluded.


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