A History of the Birth Control Movement in America

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ABC-CLIO, 2011 - Health & Fitness - 231 pages
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The women-led birth control movement defied the law to advocate one of the most controversial ideas in modern times: that women should have control over if and when to have children. The movement overcame government suppression and vigorous religious and moral opposition to insure that contraception became a necessary component of modern healthcare.

A History of the Birth Control Movement in America tells the extraordinary story of a group of reformers dedicated to making contraception legal, accessible, and acceptable. This engrossing narrative details how Margaret Sanger's campaign beginning in 1914 to challenge anti obscenity laws criminalizing the distribution of contraceptive information grew into one of the most far reaching social reform movements in American history.

The book opens with a discussion of the history of birth control methods and the criminalization of contraception and abortion in the 19th century. Its core, however, is an exciting narrative of the campaign in the 20th century, vividly recalling the arrests and indictments, banned publications, imprisonments, confiscations, clinic raids, mass meetings, and courtroom dramas that publicized the cause across the nation. Attention is paid to the movement's thorny alliances with medicine and eugenics and especially to its success in precipitating a profound shift in sexual attitudes that turned the use of contraception into an acceptable social practice. Finally, the birth control movement is linked to court won privacy protections and the present day movement for reproductive rights.

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Birth Control and Free Speech
Birth Control Clinics
Birth Control and Public Acceptance
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About the author (2011)

Peter C. Engelman, a freelance writer, historical editor, and archivist, is associate editor of the Margaret Sanger Papers Project at New York University and has written widely on Margaret Sanger and the birth control movement.

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