Health & Sports Week launch event celebrates free contraception for women aged 17-26

Posted on: 27 March 2023

Health & Sports Week launch event celebrates free contraception for women aged 17-26

Healthy People, Healthy Planet is the theme of this year’s Health & Sports Week which kicked off this morning, Monday 27 March, with a celebration of the new government scheme which provides free contraception for women between 17 and 26.

Professor Jane Stout, Vice President of Biodiversity and Climate Action, Trinity College Dublin, opened the event with Trinity College Dublin Student's Union (TCDSU), Healthy Trinity, and the Boydell Singers who performed Loretta Lynn’s 'The Pill', a 1970s sex-positive, pro-contraception song. The HSE’s Respect Protect team was also on campus providing free contraception and expert sexual health information and advice to all.

The event remembered the hard-won fight to legalise contraception in Ireland. From 1935 to 1979, most forms of contraception were illegal in Ireland and the pill was available only on prescription from sympathetic doctors as a ‘cycle regulator’. In 1971, the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement circumvented the Irish system and brought condoms from Belfast to Dublin on what became known as the contraceptive train. Today’s event re-created the famous image from 1971 to honour the brave women whose actions brought about a better, safer, and more equal Ireland for young people today.

"There are so many ways in which contraception has helped us build a fairer, more inclusive society,” said Professor Jane Stout. “Contraception increases women’s educational attainment and the women and men who receive a third-level education can expect better life expectancy, better health throughout their life and their children report higher levels of wellbeing.”

Professor Stout also highlighted the positive ecological implications of accessible, affordable contraception and referenced Dr Mary Robinson who opened last week’s Green Week by asking what it means to be a good ancestor. “The women of the Irish Women’s Liberation movement might not be our ancestors, but their actions 50 years ago bring benefits to young people today.”

Dr David McGrath, Director of the College Health Service, and Julie Smirnova, Communications Officer of TCDSU encouraged students and staff to get involved in the over 40 events which will take place as part of Health & Sports week. Free classes ranging from Pilates, mindfulness, and CrossFit classes will be available as well discussions including a Lobby Lab led by Trinity experts, exploring how harm to the planet and people can be reduced by reducing consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and ultra-processed foods.

Health & Sports week will run from the 27th-31st March.

To find out more and get involved, visit Healthy Trinity.