The extension in free contraception will mean women up to the age of 30 will no longer have to make decisions about their reproductive health “based on cost”.
Today, the Government will formally announce the eligibility criteria has been widened further - something Green Party Chair Pauline O’Reilly described as “very welcome news”.
“For too long, women’s healthcare, I think, was put to the side,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.
“I think that [it] is really important that we show that actually the most expensive forms of contraception are being prioritised and that is women’s contraception.
“People have been making decisions about their reproductive health based on cost and that meant, actually, a lot of people were not using the type of contraception that suited them best.”
Medical card holders were always entitled to free contraception but Senator O’Reilly said “a lot of people fall on the line” of eligibility and it is them that the scheme will benefit the most.
“Women in particular, who were prioritising other things for their family over, say, a coil that might cost a couple of hundred euro to insert [were] then saying, 'I could use a different form of contraception' - and it wouldn’t be as expensive,” she said.
“Also, there’s the GP follow up… in order to ensure you’re using the contraception correctly, that you’re making the right choice.”
Senator O’Reilly said the scheme has especially benefited those young women who are financially reliant on their families.
“We do know that, in particular, younger women were not using contraception because they did not want to ask their parents for money to go and get contraception from the GP,” she said.
“That is borne out by statistics.”
The 2020 Programme for Government promised to make contraception free "over a phased period".
You can listen back here:
Main image: Oral contraception pills.