Press Release

Minister for Health launches public consultation on access to contraception

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD launched a public consultation today (Tuesday) on increasing access to contraception.

Earlier this year, Minister Harris established a Working Group to consider the policy, regulatory and legislative issues relating to enhanced access to contraception, following the recommendation of the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment.

The public consultation launched today will inform the final report to the Minister. The consultation, which will remain open until midnight, Monday, 5 August and is available on the Department of Health website.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “Removing barriers to contraception in a key priority for me as Minister for Health.

“We have begun that work through the expansion of free access to condoms this year. This allows for expanded access to the groups most at risk, and within the youth sector, including third level facilities.

“The Working Group has been underway in my Department since April and has done significant preparatory work.

“However, it is important we hear from the public and stakeholders and allow them to have their say on this issue. I would encourage all those with an interest to engage with the Department’s consultation before it concludes. It is our ambition to have the Working Group’s report concluded by September.”

All responses will inform the Working Group’s examination of the issues on increasing access to contraception, and will enable the Working Group make appropriate recommendations to the Minister on policy options.

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

The Working Group was established in April 2019 and consists of officials from relevant policy areas within the Department of Health.

The Group will consider the range of policy, regulatory and legislative issues arising in relation to improving access to contraception and is working to the following Terms of Reference:
· To conduct a rapid review of national and international literature on contraception and associated issues;
· To specifically examine the extent to which cost is a barrier to accessing reliable methods of contraception in Ireland and to consider whether there are other factors influencing access to contraception that could be addressed;
· To examine mechanisms to address any access issues identified, including financial, legislative, regulatory and contractual issues, as well as any other relevant matters;
· To consult with relevant stakeholders; and
· To make recommendations to the Minister on the optimal policy options and next steps.

It is expected that the Working Group will report to the Minister by end September 2019.