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Condoms

Condoms

ST. LOUIS • Condom sales in the city took one step closer to legality on Tuesday.

An aldermanic committee moved forward a bill that repeals an archaic and unenforced local ordinance banning condom sales in the city. The law dates back to 1934, although it apparently hasn't stopped condom sales at local businesses.

Ward 25 Alderman Shane Cohn sponsored a bill to repeal it, citing high rates of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies.

"Our health department has been working very diligently to fight those things that plague our city," Cohn told the city's Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday.

The ordinance that's currently on the books says it's illegal to make "for sale, or give away, within the City, any contraceptive or sex-inciting device or contrivance or any prophylactic rubber goods or prophylactic membranes or to own or be in charge of any vending machine dispensing any such article or to be in charge of any premises where such vending machine is maintained or where any such device is displayed or is dispensed by any means whatsoever."

It exempts licensed pharmacists and doctors.

Ward 13 Alderman Fred Wessels cautioned that the ordinances' repeal will do little to cut STD rates.

"(Condoms) are available everywhere," Wessels noted.

"It's a matter of cleaning up our ordinances," Cohn responded.

Cohn noted that under current law a checkout clerk at a grocery store could be fined for selling condoms, although no one could say when or if something like that has ever happened.

Condom use was once more controversial. The Catholic Church has long opposed the use of condoms, and remains steadfast in its prohibition of birth control.  

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Nicholas J.C. Pistor is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.