De Courcey’s Female Pills were one of the many remedies women could use to ‘restore regularity’ when their menstrual periods were late. Some women took such pills as soon as their periods were overdue, rather than waiting to find out if they were pregnant – use of this kind was not seen as an abortion.
Advertisements relating to abortion were carefully coded. The words and their arrangement were designed to alert possible customers without being obvious. The phrase ‘married ladies’, for example, meant those having sex. In this 1896 example, the information that Mr Hathaway was a member of the Pharmaceutical Society was followed by a note that a member of his family ran a private hospital with 'certificated nurses'. In this context it may be that 'in-patients visiting Christchurch' were women needing an abortion, with the advertisement assuring them of safety and a moderate price.
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National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: Inangahua Times, 1 August 1896, p. 4
Permission of the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.
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