Mininster Harris cannot walk back commitment on free contraception

06 March 2019

Labour TD for Limerick and Chair of the All Party Oireachtas Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Jan O’Sullivan, has called on the Minister not to back peddle on previous commitments to deliver on the recommendation of the Committee on the 8th Amendment and to make contraception free.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“While I welcome the establishment of a working group to examine ‘ cost barriers to accessing contraception’, it is important from the get-go that such a group work to find a route to free access to contraception and not simply a reduction in cost.

“The recommendation from the Committee on the Eighth Amendment was to provide free access, and in March of last year, the Minister for Health committed to free access to contraception.

“Any walking back on that commitment now would be a serious let down for women all around Ireland who need access to contraception for their sexual health and the effective avoidance of crisis pregnancies.

“Providing free contraception would be hugely empowering for women from all walks of life and I believe a sensible move toward reducing crisis pregnancies in the first place. For many women, and especially younger women, the costs of accessing contraception can be very expensive both for seeing their GP and then having a prescription filled.

“A free service would be of huge benefit and I hope the Minister does not intend to water down his previous commitment to this issue.”

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