Debates on family planning and the contraceptive pill in the Irish magazine Woman's Way, 1963-1973

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Abstract

This article explores discussions of family planning and the contraceptive pill in the popular Irish women’s magazine Woman’s Way between 1963 and 1973. Contraception was criminalised in Ireland in 1935 and literature relating to birth control was banned under the 1929 Censorship of Publications Act. The contraceptive pill was marketed as a cycle regulator from 1963 until legalization in 1979. This article outlines how women accessed the contraceptive pill, the geographical and class inequalities around this access and how Woman’s Way was an important vehicle for debates around the pill. The article assesses what discussions of the contraceptive pill can tell us about marriage dynamics, the role of sympathetic doctors, the power of the Catholic Church. Ultimately, it illustrates how the magazine was an important source of information on family planning for Irish women and how it also enabled women to air their views on the issue.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen's History Review
Early online date29 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Woman’s Way
  • contraception
  • Ireland
  • birth control
  • contraceptive pill

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