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Open thread: Do you remember when buying contraceptives was illegal?

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Image: Africa Studio via Shutterstock

IT SEEMS INCREDIBLE to younger generations but, up until quite recently, it was illegal to buy contraceptives in the Republic of Ireland.

While owning and using contraceptives was always legal, laws restricting their sale meant the majority of the population effectively had no family planning options.

The result was that many Irish women and men drove across the border into Northern Ireland to bring back contraband contraceptives for themselves or others.

The sale of contraceptives were not properly relaxed until 1993 – as business magnate Richard Branson, who faced court proceedings after allowing the Irish Family Planning Association to sell condoms in his Dublin Virgin Megastore in 1990 - recalled in a blog post this week where he discussed his worries over women’s rights in modern Ireland.

In response to Branson’s post, readers of TheJournal.ie have been recalling their own experiences…

One reader, Eileen Gabbett, remembers:

I forgot that condoms were illegal :) I went into a chemist in town one day to get my prescription of the pill, I was married ( I know it does not matter now but it did then) and when the pharmacist saw it was for the pill , she scrunched up the prescription and threw straight into my face saying that ”We do not have THAT here and GET OUT !!!
It may seem funny now but then it was so embarassing as if I had done some thing wrong.

Patricia Martin says:

In the 60s I use to drive to Belfast and buy many many pks of 3, bring them back across the border and sell them to fellow students for a profit
my Mother could never understand why so many guys would phone me one after the other.

Sharrow says:

I remember this, was the first place I ever bought condoms, even when in 1993 you could by them it was often made deliberately awkward by chemists who didn’t agree with selling them.

Do you remember the days when contraceptives were illegal to buy? Did you have a good or bad experience trying to exercise your right after the laws were relaxed?

We’d love to hear your story, share it with us in the comments section below…

In the 60′s I use to drive to Belfast and buy many many pks of 3, bring them back across the border and sell them to fellow students for a profit
my Mother could never understand why so many guys would phone me one after the other.

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