When I was a child - a heady 12 to 16 year period covering the early 00s and much of the 90s - whenever I went to our local pharmacy with my mother, I would be offered a free lollipop from a jar of complimentary confectionery nestled beside the till. I was not offered any female contraceptives such as the pill, patches or rings*; a travesty of a situation which thankfully the Irish Pharmacy Union are seeking to address.
According to a report submitted to the Department of Health, and seen by The Irish Times, the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) are looking to shake up the whole 'acquisition of contraceptive' scene - easily one of the top three 'scenes' - in a quite significant way. They would like to make the pill, contraceptive patches and rings available for free from pharmacies, without prescription and regardless of eligibility and whether the person seeking them had been prescribed contraceptives before, as long as they are over 17.
During the Oireachtas deliberations regarding the Eighth Amendment it was decided that, as part of the general initiative to help reduce unwanted pregnancies, various forms of contraception should be made more readily available.
The IPU said that, as part of this initiative, which is expected to be widely opposed by GPs, any pharmacists who would be entitled to provide free hormonal contraceptives would have to undergo additional training. Presumably such training would involve being taught how to hand over a box of hormonal pills without injuring the recipient, or perhaps giving them a papercut off one of the corners.
Here we come to a the sticky part, having typed the above, rather facetious comment about the training, I have just seen that hormonal injections will also be offered as one of the contraceptive options, the administering of which I can freely admit, probably requires some training. I hold my hands up, I am an abhorrent human being
While, this is still currently just a proposal that has been brought to the Department of Health, given that since 2011 pharmacies have been entitled to hand out the morning-after pill without prescription, and that the government are looking to significantly increase the ease of access to all forms of contraception.
Thundering good news all round if this pans out.
*It has just occurred to me that perhaps the lollipops were laced with some form of contraceptive dust, but this seems unlikely; as it was I would simply leave the premises, on a slight sugar buzz with my ability to procreate unimpeded.