Minister must give clarity on free contraception plan

15 October 2019

Labour Party TD, Jan O’Sullivan, has called on the Minister for Health to give clarity on his proposals for free contraception.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“I welcome soundings from Government that they will be bringing forward legislation on free contraception, but the Minister for Health needs to clarify what types of contraception will be covered.

“The Labour Party has been clear in making sure that long-acting reversable contraceptives such as the copper coil and the hormonal implant are covered under any proposals for the provision of free contraception.

“We cannot just have a one size fits all approach to contraception, the Government can’t just provide free condoms and the pill and call it a day. Provision of the full range of methods, including long acting reversible contraceptives costs less in the long-term than the provision of short-acting methods alone and evidence suggests that the overall cost to the state will fall year on year as women and girls switch to more reliable and cost-effective methods. If reforms to contraception access remove cost barriers to short-acting methods only, or only removes cost from methods that can be provided over-the-counter, the state risks incentivising women towards contraceptive methods that are less effective at preventing unintended pregnancy, and reducing the likelihood of women switching from less to more reliable methods. In other words, the state would be defeating the purpose of the policy and doing so at a higher cost than if all methods were included.

“Minister Harris needs to publish the report following the public consultation into the provision of free contraception and give us some meaningful details on the scheme his department wants to introduce, it is essential that is comprehensive.”

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