South: Birth control rip-off

By Ann-Katrin Orr, Limerick Socialist Youth

According to a survey, 32% of women said that the price of the contraceptive pill discourages them from using it. At a time when there are high levels of crisis pregnancies, particularly amongst young women, this is a frightening statistic.

There’s a vital need for sex education but also the provision of free and easily accessible contraception.

The cost of the first 6 months taking the pill can easily come to ?200. This is because of the costs of GP visits, the pill itself and related charges such as the cost for smear tests and nurses’ consultation. Whilst in the South third level students may have access to free or reduced cost health care through their college, most have to pay the full costs involved. This is disgraceful, especially when compared to the North where young people can get the pill free of charge.

On top of the financial burden women are also often confronted with the social taboo attached with getting contraception. They can feel intimidated and judged by their GPs, especially family GPs, some of whom actually refuse point blank to prescribe the pill. It should be the right of each and every woman to choose if she wants to use the pill as a contraceptive.

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