There was no money allocated in Budget 2020 for a free contraception scheme, the Joint Committee on Health heard yesterday. The programme is not likely to be rolled out until 2021 even though Minister for Health Simon Harris hoped to introduce the programme this year. The committee discussed the Report of the Working Group on Access to Contraception.
A recent report commissioned by Mr Harris questioned the value of free contraception which would cost the State up to €100 million annually and could be spent on other measures.
Independent Senator Collette Kelleher who was nominated by the Taoiseach said she was incredibly disappointed with the report, which she said moved away from its remit, and began to focus primarily on the cost issue.
“We need to get to back to principles, which is that contraception is fundamental to women, exercising their reproductive rights, throughout their lives, and it’s fundamental for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.”
Fianna Fail’s Stephen Donnelly said the lack of funding was very disappointing. “I think many people in here support the idea that if abortion services are going to do it for free, then you must, of course, provide contraception for free,” he said.