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NWC welcomes proposal to make oral contraception available over the counter

Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2023

The National Women’s Council warmly welcomes, as reported in the media today, that Minister Stephen Donnelly proposes to make oral contraception available over the counter in pharmacies. This proposal, along with the free contraception scheme, are very welcome steps in ensuring women have full autonomy in our reproductive lives. We are further calling for free contraception to be rolled out to women up to 35 in Budget 2024.

NWC Director Orla O’Connor said:

“It’s really welcome to see this much-discussed measure come before Cabinet today. Universal free contraception is a public health intervention with transformative potential and it is key to gender equality and women’s health. This measure removes one more financial barrier to women’s access to contraception and as such is very welcome indeed.”

NWC’s Women’s Health Officer Poushali Kundu said:

“Attending a GP every six months for a prescription for oral contraception is a huge financial burden for economically marginalised women, including Traveller women, migrant women and disabled women. It is very important that these women have the same access to reproductive autonomy as financially comfortable women.”

NWC also welcomes the proposal to establish a Commission on Care for Older Persons, which will be critical in deciding future policy and legislation to support the wellbeing and independence of older people.

The National Women’s Council pre-budget submission reiterates our call for free contraception up to age 35. Free contraception is currently available to women between 17 and 30 but, as we know, the need for contraception does not end at 30.


For comment: Orla O’Connor

Find here NWC’s pre-budget submission: https://www.nwci.ie/learn/article/call_to_deliver_public_childcare_as_part_of_budget_2024

For more information, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator: sineadn@nwci.ie


About NWC

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters.

This year we celebrate 50 years since our foundation with a special calendar of events and campaigns.

The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.

We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity. Find out more on www.nwci.ie