Women in Ireland should be given free contraception, the Green party has urged.
The party is hosting an online public meeting with the aim of putting the issue on the agenda ahead of this year’s Budget.
“It’s to discuss free contraception for young women ahead of Budget 2022, called Towards Free Contraception For All,” Green Party Councillor Donna Cooney told Newstalk.
The priority is for the policy to be rolled out for women aged between 17 and 25 - a commitment that would cost an estimated €18m to €22m a year.
The policy was included in last year’s Programme for Government and it was also one of the key recommendations of the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.
The party introduced a motion to that effect last year in the Seanad. However, the Government said that planning for the policy had been disrupted because of the pandemic.
With this year’s budget looming, the party’s spokesperson for health, Neasa Hourigan TD, said it is time to revisit the issue:
“Access to free contraception is about giving people, regardless of their financial means, complete control over their own bodies and lives - whether to have children and when to have them.
"It is the next step on from the autonomy provided to women when we repealed the Eighth Amendment.
“We negotiated to include this commitment in the Programme for Government and now we need to deliver on that commitment.”
While the party wants young women prioritised, the Greens also said the Government should set out a timeline for the development of universal free contraception in the lifetime of the current Dáil.
Such a proposal would cost the state between €80m to €100m a year.
Main image: Birth control pills. Image by: Richard B. Levine/PA.