Former UCD students campaign for wider availability, information and standard pricing of the morning after pill

Re(al) Productive Health is a new campaign that aims to promote greater access to emergency contraception for women in Ireland.

Co-founder of Real Productive Health Fiona Dunkin said that the broad aim of the campaign was to “create and consolidate” resources for women in Ireland.

The primary aims of the campaign are concerned with costing, availability and information around the morning after pill.

Availability

According to the Pharmacists Association of Ireland “if supply [of emergency contraception] to a patient is likely to be affected by the personal moral standards of a pharmacist” then the pharmacist is entitled to refuse to dispense it, but must refer the woman to another pharmacist.

Real Productive Health wants to see this clause removed in order to ensure wider access to the morning after pill, particularly in rural areas.

The former UCD students behind the campaign also want to see a Sunday rota system introduced in rural pharmacies to ensure timely access to the pill for women living in rural areas.

Niall Behan of the Irish Family Planning, speaking at the launch of Real Productive Health, described the morning after pill as “safer than cough mixture”.

Behan also believes that women should be able to make advance purchases of the morning after pill to cover possible instances of contraceptive failure.

Pricing

As of 2011, the morning after pill is available over the counter in pharmacies across the country but price varies from €10 to €45.

Real Productive Health believes a standard price will ensure more equal access for those with limited disposable income and will reduce stress in those who need to purchase it but are unsure of the price.

Information

Real Productive Health has produced a YouTube video outlining the current situation around emergency contraception.

Women are also invited to map their experiences on an interactive map on the campaign’s website.

The initiative also calls for a reworking of the consultation that women are subject to when accessing the morning after pill over the counter.

Dunkin said the process often comes across as “lecturing” and that an information-based approach would be much more appropriate.

Real Productive Health encourages sufficient advertisement of the availability of emergency contraception by pharmacies that do stock it.

The latest figures released by the HSE show that women aged between 18 and 25 are more likely to access emergency contraception