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Women’s Council welcomes free contraception; calls for extension of scheme

Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Women’s Council welcomes free contraception; calls for extension of scheme 

Universal free contraception is due to be rolled out for 17-25 year-old women from tomorrow 


Press Release 
13 September 2022 

The National Women’s Council (NWC) has warmly welcomed the commencement of the universal free contraception scheme for women aged 17 to 25. From tomorrow (Wednesday) women in this age cohort will be able to go to their doctor and decide which of the contraceptive options available will be best suited to their needs.  

Alana Ryan, NWC’s Women’s Health Coordinator said:  

“This is a groundbreaking step. Universal free contraception is a public health intervention with transformative potential and key to gender equality. Much of the time it falls to women to look after contraception, but the benefits of free contraception will be felt across society as women take control of their reproductive lives and choices. 

However, some women are sexually active before the age of 17, and long after the age of 25. So it’s crucial that Government follows this excellent first step up with a widening of the age bracket in the budget at the end of the month”.  

With the cost of living crisis, women are facing increasing burdens, not least with childcare. We know that 40% of lone parents, for example, are struggling to make ends meet. While the cost of the pill is prohibitive for some women, the large upfront investment required for more reliable long-acting contraceptives such as the coil is prohibitive for many more. As more women face increased financial pressure, the Government must ensure that income is not a barrier to contraception for anyone.  

NWC sees access to contraception as inextricably linked to reproductive justice, alongside good relationship and sex education, and access to abortion. Ms Ryan continued:  

“Access to contraception is crucial for preventing crisis pregnancy. As the Abortion Review progresses, it’s crucial that Government takes a holistic view of reproductive health. We need to ensure all women have access to the most reliable and effective forms of contraception to reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy. It’s imperative that Government now keeps up the momentum and includes the next age cohort in the budget.”  

NWC is also calling for public affordable childcare in Budget 2023. It is crucial that Government supports women in the care of children.   


See NWC’s pre-budget submission and press release: https://www.nwci.ie/learn/article/government_must_increase_social_welfare_rates_to_support_women_and_lone_par 

For more information, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator, 085 8619087. 

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. 

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