The dilemma of unwanted pregnancy has faced the human species as far back in history as the day man found out that there was a connection between sexual intercourse and conceiving a baby. To solve it, many methods were used -- some disagreeable, some dangerous and many ineffective. Fortunately, today for the first time in history, a choice of contraceptives is available that is, safe, convenient, and effective.
Much difference of opinion about the moral correctness of sex without the possibility of becoming pregnant, surrounds this subject. Since the Middle Ages, much of religious thinking has held that the only proper reason for sexual intercourse was procreation. Thus, anything that interfered with fertility was immoral. Under the 1892 Criminal Code, birth control was obscene, “tending to corrupt morals.” Unless an accused could prove that the contraceptive had been used “for the public good,” that person was liable to serve a two year jail sentence. Contraception was opposed by pronatalist business, religious and political interest groups. Their attacks on the “birth controllers” were frequent and often defamatory.
Nevertheless, by the 1920’s, the 1892 law was being questioned, and family size among those in higher socioeconomic standards were shrinking. Informed couples were able to limit their fertility by “under the counter” purchases of contraceptives, or with materials for homemade methods. However, high fertility rates persisted among the less educated and poor. Birth controllers insisted that birth control should be available to everyone. Scattered groups of determined volunteers made referrals to courageous physicians, who were not afraid of being arrested, or p...
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...determine the number of their children is almost universally endorsed. It is understood that we do not live in a time where children can be raised by the dozen. Throughout the world, advantages and disadvantages of specific methods of birth control, thoughtful judgments about ethics, and further evolution in medical and scientific knowledge will continue to be important to the welfare of the family, of individual nations, and of the entire globe.
1. Encyclopedia Britannica
©1993 by Encyclopedia Britannica
2. Internet Access
3. Teenage Medicine
By August Greenbalt
© 1970 by Augusta Greenbalt
pp 96-111; 124
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