Download A History of the Birth Control Movement in America (Healing by Peter C. Engelman PDF

By Peter C. Engelman

A historical past of the contraception circulation in the USA tells the intense tale of a bunch of reformers devoted to making birth control felony, available, and applicable. The engrossing story info how Margaret Sanger's crusade starting in 1914 to problem anti-obscenity legislation criminalizing the distribution of contraceptive details grew into essentially the most far-reaching social reform hobbies in American background. The e-book opens with a dialogue of the heritage of contraception tools and the criminalization of birth control and abortion within the nineteenth century. Its middle, even though, is an exhilarating narrative of the crusade within the twentieth century, vividly recalling the arrests and indictments, banned courses, imprisonments, confiscations, health center raids, mass conferences, and court dramas that publicized the reason around the country. consciousness is paid to the movement's thorny alliances with medication and eugenics and particularly to its luck in precipitating a profound shift in sexual attitudes that became using birth control into a suitable social and clinical perform. eventually, the contraception circulation is associated with court-won privateness protections and the present-day stream for reproductive rights.

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Additional info for A History of the Birth Control Movement in America (Healing Society: Disease, Medicine, and History)

Example text

Knowlton also laid out the terms of the debate over birth control that would extend well into the 20th century. Those opposed to contraception, he wrote, believed it was an unnatural act and would lead to immoral behavior. But Knowlton responds by asking rhetorically, “What is civilized life but one continual warfare against nature? ” He points out that women were just as capable of losing their chastity without the knowledge of contraception and with the fear of pregnancy. Moreover, he believed that birth control, what he called the “anti-conception art,” would reduce prostitution, limit excessive population growth, and ease poverty.

Sanger aspired to something more. She had a passing * See, for instance, Ellen Chesler’s biography, Woman of Valor (1992; revised 2007), The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, Vols. 1–3 (2003–2010), and the film documentary, Margaret Sanger, that aired on PBS in 1998. 28 A History of the Birth Control Movement in America fancy for a stage career before setting her sights on the medical profession. With great sacrifice, her sisters pooled together incomes from various jobs and sent her to Claverack College, a nearby Methodist preparatory school.

17 What were those motives? The purveyors of contraceptive devices and information generally stuck to the rationale of improving women’s health, although some urged birth control for economic reasons or to avoid passing on a disease or deformity. At the most basic level, however, men and women wished to enjoy sexual union without the concern of pregnancy, regardless of whatever other reasons they may have had to limit childbearing. Reflecting changing attitudes about sexuality, the medical advice literature emphasized pleasure and happiness and the importance of physical intimacy to a sound marriage.

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