NWCI Submission calls for free contraception
Published: Tuesday, August 06, 2019
The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI)’s Submission to the Department of Health on Access to Contraception has this weekend called for a scheme to provide the most effective and appropriate methods of contraception free-of-charge, provided across primary care, family planning clinics, pharmacy and hospitals. NWCI has further recommended that this free contraception scheme commence in Budget 2020.
Dr Cliona Loughnane, Women’s Health Coordinator at NWCI said,
“We want to ensure women are entitled to free contraceptive care consultations with a doctor. With this, Ireland has the opportunity to be a world leader in properly resourced, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. This would have the benefits of limiting unplanned pregnancies, reducing the need for abortion, stopping the spread of sexual transmitted infections (STIs) and supporting overall reproductive health, including uptake of smears and management of menstrual health conditions. We are calling on the Government to introduce this scheme in Budget 2020, because as things stand, continuing high rates of unplanned pregnancy, rising rates of STIs and strong evidence of inconsistent contraception use indicate that we are failing a large proportion of Irish women in achieving their best reproductive health.”
Dr Cliona Loughnane continued,
“Currently, significant cost and access barriers exist which prohibit women from using their preferred contraception method, resulting in inconsistent use of contraception, low uptake of the most effective long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs) and increasing rates of STIs. It is clear that women in the very midst of their reproductive years are finding it difficult to pay the cost of contraception. In many cases, women who have very significant overheads and squeezed income may consider contraception – and particularly the upfront cost for LARC beyond their means. This includes young women in their late teens or early 20’s who may be students, or working in low income jobs facing high rents, or women in their late 20’s and early 30’s with young children who are paying the high cost of childcare and housing”
Dr Cliona Loughnane concluded,
“During the campaign to remove the 8th Amendment last year, the government committed to providing a scheme of universal access to contraception. Now that a universal, free abortion service has been rolled out (with evident need for further development), this creates a situation in which women are provided with the means to end, but not prevent, unintended pregnancy.”
“The development of safe, effective contraception is widely considered to be one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Access to safe, effective contraception for all women should be a fundamental part of any good healthcare system, and access should be guaranteed in Budget 2020.”
For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, 085 8619087.