Emergency Contraception Becomes Available Over-the-Counter in Ireland

This week, emergency contraception (EC) became available without a prescription for the first time in Ireland, as reported by the Irish Examiner. Before this week, those who sought EC needed a doctor’s prescription.

The development has been welcomed by the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), which has been calling for the increased availability for years, pointing to unnecessary delays in access as increasing the risk of unplanned pregnancies.

Dr. Caitriona Henchion, Medical Director of the IFPA, said in response to the good news, “The IFPA has advocated for improved access to emergency contraceptive pills for a number of years because it is more effective the sooner it is taken….The emergency contraceptive pill is a very safe and responsible method of preventing pregnancy and offers women and girls a second chance to prevent pregnancy when a regular method has failed, no method was used or sex was forced.”

We at IWHC join our colleagues in commending this exciting new development in women’s health. Increased availability of EC is a necessary measure to ensure that all women have access to EC and the ability to control their fertility.

This isn’t the first time we’ve commended the IFPA for furthering sexual and reproductive rights and health through their advocacy work. In late December, we named their successful campaign to end a constitutional ban on abortion in Ireland as the number 2 win of 2010.

IWHC partner PROMSEX has also been actively promoting the increased accessibility of EC this year, both by launching a public awareness campaign to inform Peruvian women about its use and by advocating public officials for their support of EC. Click here to learn more.



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