Donnelly calls for implementation group as Govt promise to provide free contraception stalls

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly, has called for the establishment of an implementation group to introduce universal free contraception.

Deputy Donnelly was commenting as the Health Committee heard from the Report of the Working Group on Access to Contraception. It was confirmed that no funding has been allocated to get the scheme off the ground.

He said, „Despite Minister Harris’s promise to introduce free contraception by 2021, not one cent was allocated in budget 2020 for a free contraception scheme.

„So, we have a plan, but no money, and no way of implementing it. If the Minister is serious about meeting his own deadline of 2021, then he needs to establish an implementation group now.

„The Health Committe are of the belief that if abortion services are going to be provided for free, then contraception must, of course, be provided for free. We can’t have a situation whereby women have to pay for contraception and but not abortion.

„The roll-out of free contraception is something which will take time, if it is to be done correctly. The plans should be put in place now to ensure there is no added burden on GPs, that pharmacies can be prepared and that an education programme can be put in place. This won’t happen overnight.

„I have asked time and time again, why the serious scandals in our health system revolve around women’s reproductive health. Symphysiotomy, CervicalCheck, Mesh Implants, Mother and Baby Homes – the list goes on. There are real questions to be answered as to why this keeps happening.

„We have before us a chance to get something right. Access to contraception is a basic part of women’s reproductive healthcare needs. An implementation group needs to be established immediately,” he concluded.

Fianna Fáil

Stephen Donnelly TD

Spokesperson on Health

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