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5 - ‘Against Sin’

An Irish Family Planning Bill, 1973–1979

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2023

Mary E. Daly
Affiliation:
University College Dublin
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Summary

From the early 1970s government proposals for legislation permitting access to contraception reveal a consistent dilemma for politicians: how to make contraception available to married couples while restricting access by single people. Records of consultative meetings organised by the Department of Health, suggest that by the late 1970s there was consensus, sometimes grudging, among the main churches, medical groups, and the trade union congress that contraception should be available on a restricted basis, but it was also recognised that it would prove difficult to prevent access by single people. These consultations also reveal a determination on the part of doctors and pharmacists to protect their professional interests, and an incapacity to provide family planning through the public health system. The 1979 Family Planning Act legalised access to contraception, ‘for bona fide family planning purposes’ – terminology that was not defined, and it privileged ‘natural methods’, providing state support to promote them in order to placate the Catholic hierarchy. Its restrictive nature ensured that contraception remained a matter for political contention.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • ‘Against Sin’
  • Mary E. Daly, University College Dublin
  • Book: The Battle to Control Female Fertility in Modern Ireland
  • Online publication: 11 May 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009314886.006
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • ‘Against Sin’
  • Mary E. Daly, University College Dublin
  • Book: The Battle to Control Female Fertility in Modern Ireland
  • Online publication: 11 May 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009314886.006
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • ‘Against Sin’
  • Mary E. Daly, University College Dublin
  • Book: The Battle to Control Female Fertility in Modern Ireland
  • Online publication: 11 May 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009314886.006
Available formats
×