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IFPA Backs State Agency Recommendation to Introduce Free Contraception Services

By July 22, 2004News

– Release date: 23 July 2004

On the occasion of the launch of its second annual report, the Crisis Pregnancy Agency indicated that they will be calling for contraceptive services to be made free of charge to all, as recommended in their research findings.

The IFPA commends the Agency for its realistic and sensible approach to bringing about a reduction in crisis pregnancies and urges the Government to pay heed to the call of its own Statutory Agency and invest accordingly.

The Irish Family Planning Association believes that the introducion of full and free availability of contraceptive choices will play an integral part of promoting and ensuring good health and wellbeing in this country and would improve public health through the reduction of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

The Agency’s decision to give consideration to the deregulation of emergency contraception was also praised.

It was announced that the Agency is working in partnership with the Department of Education and Science to ensure that comprehensive programmes, which take into account information on reproduction, sex relationships, self-esteem and contraception are ‘prioritised, strengthened and supported'.

At the launch of the Report (22.7.04) the fact that ‘abstinence-only’ programmes have not proven to be effective in affecting rates of teenage pregnancy and the onset of sexual activity was highlighted.
The Crisis Pregnancy Agency have collated a wealth of research backing up something the IFPA have said for years, that sex and contraception education within schools does not lead to increased sexual activity or incidence of crisis pregnany.

“Tackling crisis pregnancies is not confined to sex education and it is significant that enhanced access to contraception is also an area for action identified by the Crisis Pregnancy Agency.” Said a spokesperson for the Association.

“In recent years, availability of family planning service providers has increased in urban centres. For those who can afford to pay, there is significant choice in terms of service provider. For those on a low income however, choice can be restricted if their GP only offers limited family planning services, or in some cases none at all.

“Unfortunately, there are contraception service black-spots throughout the country and we look forward to further details on the Agency’s proposed framework for contraceptive services due either later this year or early in 2005.

“It is also imperative that existing services are adequately resourced and that we do not see a repeat of the situation which arose last year when the IFPA were forced to suspend services to our medical card clients due to lack of funds.

“Family planning must be recognised as a key component of primary health care provision and must receive the funding that such a demand-led service requires.”

The headline results of various research studies commissioned by the Agency which were released yesterday tell us the following:

  • In most crisis pregnancies (75%) of the woman went on to give birth
  • 15% terminated the pregnancy
  • 70% were in a relationship, of some kind, at the time of conception
  • Over half went on to raise the child with the father
  • Failure or non-use of contraception is the determining factor
  • 18 to 25 year olds were less likely than other groups to report consistently using contraception
  • 30% of teenagers are sexually active.

The statistics above come from the following pieces of research which are due to be release in full later this year:

  • Irish Contraception and Crisis Pregnancy Study – A survey of the general population April 2004
  • Contraceptive Needs – The Evidence: A literature Review 2004
  • Promoting Positive Adolescent Sexual Health and Preventing Teenage Pregnancy – A Review of Recent Effectiveness Research 2004
  • A Review of Literature Exploring Factors relating to Crisis Pregnancy and Crisis Pregnancy Decision Making. Crisis Pregnancy Agency Working Document No. 1 (2004)

Useful Links: Crisis Pregnancy Agency