Sunday 22 October 2017

First, Tampax . . .

• In 1944, John Charles McQuaid, archbishop of Dublin, wrote to Dr Conn Ward, parliamentary secretary to the minister for local government and public health, and informed him that at the "Low Week meetings of the Bishops, I explained very fully the evidence concerning the use of internal sanitary tampons, in particular, that called Tampax. On the medical evidence made available, the bishops very strongly disapproved of the use of these appliances, more particularly in the case of unmarried persons". 'Unmarried persons' was a euphemism for women.

This reflects the cultural anxieties of the era.

McQuaid's medical adviser was Dr Stafford Johnson, who had studied in Clongowes Wood College and graduated in medicine from UCD in 1914. He took a particular interest in medico-moral issues and was an enthusiastic advocate for Catholic ethics in medicine.

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