Contraception, Moral Panic and Social Change in Ireland, 1969-79

Girvin, B. (2008) Contraception, Moral Panic and Social Change in Ireland, 1969-79. Irish Political Studies, 23(4), pp. 555-576. (doi: 10.1080/07907180802452804)

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The controversy over contraception during the 1970s was the first episode in what became the Irish 'cultural wars' of the 1970s and 1980s. This article suggests that changes in attitudes among a minority of Irish citizens and the availability of oral contraceptives in the 1960s challenged the traditional prohibition on contraceptives contained in the Criminal Law Amendment Act. Liberals challenged this legislation but received very little support from either Fianna Faacuteil or Fine Gael until the McGee Supreme Court decision in 1973. Even then, dissent over the issue led the Taoiseach to vote against his own government's legislation in 1974. Legislation was eventually passed in 1979, though this was conceived in conservative and restrictive terms rather than as a liberal measure. This controversy marks the emergence of conservative grassroots movements in defence of traditional Catholic teaching and Fianna Faacuteil positioning itself on the conservative wing of Irish politics on these policy areas.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Girvin, Professor Brian
Authors: Girvin, B.
Subjects:J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Irish Political Studies
ISSN (Online):1743-9078

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