Free Contraception Scheme Extended To Women Up To Age Of 35

Excellent news!

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This summer, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly will expand the free contraception scheme to all women aged 35.

The scheme was originally introduced in September 2022 for women between the ages of 17 and 25, and then in September 2023, it was expanded to include 26–30-year-olds.

This scheme is eligible to women, girls, and other individuals who identify as transgender or non-binary who reside in Ireland and for those who prescription contraception is recommended by their doctors.

It covers the cost of family planning, student health, primary care facilities, general practitioner consultations, and prescriptions for various forms of contraception.


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Stephen Donnelly intends to allow more women to participate in the free contraceptive scheme and pick up the pill in pharmacies without a GP prescription.

He wants women to be able to get direct prescriptions for the contraceptive pill from pharmacies. He has formed a task force to achieve this and is working towards allowing chemists to prescribe medications for additional prevalent conditions. While this will be launched at a later date, any GP visits that regard contraception are free and covered by the state under the scheme once your PPS number is provided.

In 2022, Mr Donnelly launched the Women’s Health Action Plan 2022 – 2023, this Plan focused on improving health outcomes for women in Ireland and included the opening of six specialist menopause clinics, two specialist endometriosis centres and same-day see-and-treat gynaecology clinics and six fertility hubs.

A new Women’s Health Action Plan is expected to be launched next week in which this scheme’s expansion will be mentioned.

Pic: Pexels

Department of Health figures showed that almost 200,000 ­women accessed the scheme last year. Embarrassment, expense, lack of awareness and inconvenience were all among the barriers to accessing contraception. Providing free contraception breaks down these barriers and allows contraception to be accessed by all.

Providing free contraception is a crucial component of comprehensive healthcare and reproductive rights for women in Ireland.

Words by Abby Sammon