When Was the Pill Legalised in Ireland
The woman`s testimony highlights the difficulties she encountered in banning contraception; the impact it had on their marital relationship, the role of the Church in their reproductive choices, and their moral dilemma of taking the contraceptive pill. Although the woman interviewed did not explicitly condemn the priest for his comments, they illustrate her belief that family planning was her responsibility, while her remark about the “pill trial” shows that there was no guarantee that she would find a doctor to prescribe it. For this woman, taking the contraceptive pill was necessary to better improve her family situation. Such testimonies were not uncommon and were frequently used by supporters of the legalisation of contraception in Ireland. Women`s magazines of the 1960s and 1970s brought such cases to light. For example, a 1969 article in Woman`s Way magazine interviewed twenty-four-year-old Marie Monaghan and mother of six, with the youngest children being four-month-old triplets. Monaghan explained: In addition, there was the nerve on the weight of the chemical and hormonal force contained in this tiny, life-changing disc. Did users take a toxic time bomb? Not according to the University of Aberdeen, which last month published a 40-year study of 46,000 British women. It turns out that users of the pill live longer and are less likely to die prematurely from heart disease, cancer, or a number of other medical conditions.
Should men take more responsibility? Well, the main method of contraception is now condoms because of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. The pill only comes into play in relationships. I guess you can share the cost of that, but not the physical consequences. I find it liberating to take on this responsibility myself. An unwanted pregnancy would affect me the most, and I was happy that it was under my control. Some of the respondents to Leane`s study also reported a priest in Cork City who was willing to give absolution to women who took the contraceptive pill. 83 As Diane Gervais and Danielle Gauvreau found in their study of family restrictions in Quebec 1940-70, some women in Quebec were looking for an understanding priest who would not deny them absolution to confession, while Leslie Tentler showed similar practices in the United States. 84 Frank Crummey, a family planning activist and founding member of Family Planning Services, believed that many Irish women simply did not inform their priests of their decision to use artificial contraceptives. In a 1979 interview for Rosita Sweetman`s book On Our Backs, he said: Reproductive rights in Ireland, including access to and legalisation of contraception and abortion, is an issue that disproportionately affects women but remains unresolved. Fully legalized only in 1993, contraception in Ireland has always been a point of contention in a so-called “Catholic country.” Although contraceptives can now be purchased legally in the Republic, the accessibility of birth control remains limited.
However, the legal ban on abortion continues to criminalize abortion within the state and faces public demand for reform. After the IWLM disbanded, members of the women`s movement split into other groups, including the short-lived Women`s Liberation Movement, which published a magazine called Fownes Street Journal. The articles in this review highlighted the potential side effects of the birth control pill. According to a 1973 article in a 1973 issue of the magazine: Although the pill was officially legalized in 1979 for “bona fide family planning purposes” at the discretion of a doctor (which did not accidentally favor married women), it was not fully legalized until 1993, without discrimination. The fact is that contraception is an old new one, older than the Egyptian papyrus of 1550 BC. J.-C. Chr., who teaches women how to mix a vaginal pessary of dates, acacia and honey coated with wool. Arguably, without parallel developments (such as women`s activism) and opportunities (such as free education), the pill would have been just another contraceptive. In Ireland, some marked a turning point around 1967, with the introduction of free secondary education and the consequent beginning of the journey of the average Irish Catholic towards individual consciousness. A year later, the damning papal encyclical on contraception, Humanae Vitae, appeared, which was ignored by tens of thousands by Irish couples.
“Would I want one of my daughters to have it? Well, I wondered what I had taken. But there are many advantages to this and my experience wouldn`t make me feel like I had to warn people. The great condition is that it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, and I guess in my time it has become as important a problem as an unwanted pregnancy. But it`s not my experience that people who take the pill become complacent. As Ruth Torode (IWU/CAP) explained to me, while “it was assumed that the pill was the easiest for women to use”, some women struggled with it, and IWU requests focused on “choice, information and care”. 114 articles published by IWU members in feminist journals in the 1970s focused more on the possible side effects of the birth control pill. For example, in Banshee in 1977, a woman pointed out that the pill had led to an increase in weight gain, and her concerns about the hormones in the pill: The IWLM was the first group of Irish women to comment on government contraceptive laws. The group lasted just over a year, but had a significant impact. Through a variety of tactics, including walkouts at Catholic masses, protests outside government buildings, the group directly embraced the Catholic hierarchy and the Irish government.
Although the IWLM was short-lived, it had a significant influence on the Irish public due to its notoriety in the Irish media. 95 A largely bourgeois group of Irish women, including left-wing activists, trade unionists, journalists and housewives, had founded the IWLM in 1970. 96 Some of the founding members of the IWLM held important positions as journalists, while others had backgrounds in left-wing and republican politics. According to Yvonne Galligan, this meant that “the small group could draw on a considerable reservoir to spread feminist ideas and information in a country still quite isolated in its social perspectives”. 97 Contraception was an important priority for IWLM. Ireland`s family planning laws were criticized in a section of their 1971 pamphlet entitled “Irishwomen: Chains or Change” entitled “Incidental facts”, which also mentioned the lack of childcare facilities, playgrounds and crèches, childcare regulations, the possibility of divorce and retraining opportunities for women. The section on family planning laws drew attention to the hypocrisy of the bill because it was possible for Irish women to have access to the contraceptive pill as a “bicycle regulator” and stated that “25,000 Irish women use it, allegedly under the guise of medication to regulate the menstrual cycle.” Founding member Mary Kenny recalled conversations about the pill at IWLM meetings, “where it was suggested that the pill might be too widely used – because there weren`t enough alternatives.” 98 As Dr. Eimir Philbin Bowman, a physician and member of the Irish Women`s Liberation Movement, explained in an oral history interview, for many users, the benefits of the birth control pill outweighed the potential health risks: it was not so much a question of whether or not I could access contraceptives. I could. It was more a matter of principle.
The fact that you can sneak in and use coded language is not enough, because contraception had to be legalized. 71 The last question is easier to answer. Early adopters suffered terrible side effects such as dizziness, nausea, weight gain, sore breasts and even blood clots caused by the massive doses of estrogen in the original pill, up to 150 micrograms compared to 20 to 30 mg in the modern version. 28. “The pill in Ireland: a short review of the facts,” Irish Times, 1 August 1968, p. 6.