Beyond the Numbers presents a thought-provoking series of essays by leading authorities on issues of population and consumption. The essays both define the poles of debate and explore common ground beyond the polarized rhetoric.Specific chapters consider each of the broad topics addressed at the International Conference on Population and Development held in September 1994 in Cairo, Egypt. The essays are supplemented by sidebars and short articles featuring more-impassioned voices that highlight issues of interest not fully explored in the overviews.As well as providing a sense of the difficulties involved in dealing with these issues, the essays make clear that constructive action is possible.Topics covered include: the interrelationships between population, economic growth, consumption, and development the history of population and family planning efforts gender equality and the empowerment of women reproductive rights, reproductive health, family planning, health and mortality
Traditionally, the history of the birth control movement has been told through the accounts of the leaders, organizations, and legislation that shaped the campaign. Recently, historians have begun examining the cultural work of printed media, including newspapers, magazines, and even novels in fostering support for the cause. Broadcasting Birth Control builds on this new scholarship to explore the films and radio and television broadcasts developed by twentieth-century birth control advocates to promote family planning at home in the United States, and in the expanding international arena of population control.
Mass media, Manon Parry contends, was critical to the birth control movement’s attempts to build support and later to publicize the idea of fertility control and the availability of contraceptive services in the United States and around the world. Though these public efforts in advertising and education were undertaken initially by leading advocates, including Margaret Sanger, increasingly a growing class of public communications experts took on the role, mimicking the efforts of commercial advertisers to promote health and contraception in short plays, cartoons, films, and soap operas. In this way, they made a private subject—fertility control—appropriate for public discussion.
Parry examines these trends to shed light on the contested nature of the motivations of birth control advocates. Acknowledging that supporters of contraception were not always motivated by the best interests of individual women, Parry concludes that family planning advocates were nonetheless convinced of women’s desire for contraception and highly aware of the ethical issues involved in the use of the media to inform and persuade.
Most women in the West use contraceptives in order to avoid having children. But in rural Gambia and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, many women use contraceptives for the opposite reason—to have as many children as possible.
Using ethnographic and demographic data from a three-year study in rural Gambia, Contingent Lives explains this seemingly counterintuitive fact by juxtaposing two very different understandings of the life course: one is a linear, Western model that equates aging and the ability to reproduce with the passage of time, the other a Gambian model that views aging as contingent on the cumulative physical, social, and spiritual hardships of personal history, especially obstetric trauma. Viewing each of these two models from the perspective of the other, Caroline Bledsoe produces fresh understandings of the classical anthropological subjects of reproduction, time, and aging as culturally shaped within women's conjugal lives. Her insights will be welcomed by scholars of anthropology and demography as well as by those working in public health, development studies, gerontology, and the history of medicine.
John T. Noonan, Jr. Harvard University Press, 1986 Library of Congress HQ766.3.N6 1986 | Dewey Decimal 241.66
Originally published in 1965, Contraception received unanimous acclaim from all quarters as the first thorough, scholarly, objective analysis of Catholic doctrine on birth control. More than ever this subject is of acute concern to a world facing serious population problems, and the author has written an important new appendix examining the development of and debates over the doctrine in the past twenty years.
“Contraceptive sex,” wrote social science researcher Mary Eberstadt in 2012, “is the fundamental social fact of our time.” In this important and pointed book, Charles E. Rice, of the Notre Dame Law School, makes the novel claim that the acceptance of contraception is a prelude to persecution. He makes the striking point that contraception is not essentially about sex. It is a First Commandment issue: Who is God? It was at the Anglican Lambeth Conference of 1930 when for the first time a Christian denomination said that contraception could ever be a moral choice. The advent of the Pill in the 1960s made the practice of contraception practically universal. This involved a massive displacement of the Divine Law as a normative measure of conduct, not only on sex but across the board. Nature abhors a vacuum. The State moved in to occupy the place formerly held by God as the ultimate moral Lawgiver. The State put itself on a collision course with religious groups and especially with the Catholic Church, which continues to insist on that traditional teacher. A case in point is the Obama Regime’s Health Care Mandate, coercing employees to provide, contrary to conscience, abortifacients and contraceptives to their employees. The first chapter describes that Mandate, which the Catholic bishops have vowed not to obey. Rice goes on to show that the duty to disobey an unjust law that would compel you to violate the Divine Law does not confer a general right to pick and choose what laws you will obey. The third chapter describes the “main event,” which is the bout to determine whether the United States will conform its law and culture to the homosexual (LGBTQ) lifestyle in all its respects. “The main event is well underway and LGBTQ is well ahead on points.” Professor Rice follows with a clear analysis of the 2013 Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. Part II presents some “underlying causes” of the accelerating persecution of the Catholic Church. The four chapter headings in this part outline the picture: The Dictatorship of Relativism; Conscience Redefined; The Constitution: Moral Neutrality; and The Constitution: Still Taken Seriously? The answer to the last question, as you might expect, is: No. Part III, the controversial heart of the book, prese nts contraception as “an unacknowledged cause” of persecution. The first chapter argues that contraception is not just a “Catholic issue.” The next chapter describes the “consequences” of contraception and the treatment of women as objects. The third chapter spells out in detail the reality that contraception is a First Commandment issue and that its displacement of God as the ultimate moral authority opened the door for the State to assume that role, bringing on a persecution of the Church. The last chapter, “A Teaching Untaught,” details the admitted failure of the American Catholic bishops to teach Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. But Rice offers hope that the bishops are now getting their act together Part IV offers as a “response” to the persecution of the Church three remedies: Speak the Truth with clarity and charity; Trust God; and, most important, Pray. As the last sentence in the book puts it: “John Paul II wrote in a letter to U.S. bishops in 1993: ‘America needs much prayer – lest it lose its soul.’” This readable and provocative book is abundantly documented with a detailed index of names and subjects.
In this wide-ranging and impressive work, Greenhalgh examines the evolution of China’s population policy in the post-Mao era. She notes that during the past thirty years the role of the state in managing China’s population and the bodies of its citizens has expanded enormously, involving efforts to promote women’s health, foster higher population ‘quality,’ and even combat infertility. If we want to understand the challenges that China’s rise presents to the rest of the world, we need to appreciate the centrality of all aspects of population management in the strategic thinking of Chinese elites. Cultivating Global Citizens provides a vital guide to this controversial terrain.
The 1960s revolutionized American contraceptive practice. Diaphragms, jellies, and condoms with high failure rates gave way to newer choices of the Pill, IUD, and sterilization. Fit to Be Tied provides a history of sterilization and what would prove to become, at once, socially divisive and a popular form of birth control.
During the first half of the twentieth century, sterilization (tubal ligation and vasectomy) was a tool of eugenics. Individuals who endorsed crude notions of biological determinism sought to control the reproductive decisions of women they considered "unfit" by nature of race or class, and used surgery to do so. Incorporating first-person narratives, court cases, and official records, Rebecca M. Kluchin examines the evolution of forced sterilization of poor women, especially women of color, in the second half of the century and contrasts it with demands for contraceptive sterilization made by white women and men. She chronicles public acceptance during an era of reproductive and sexual freedom, and the subsequent replacement of the eugenics movement with "neo-eugenic" standards that continued to influence American medical practice, family planning, public policy, and popular sentiment.
In the life of the Catholic Church, the papal encyclical Humanae vitae represents a deepening of understanding regarding the nature of married love and the transmission of life. Despite fifty years (1968-2018) since it’s promulgation, many Catholics have yet to discover the treasure of these rich teachings. This volume therefore seeks to elucidate the encyclical’s reaffirmation of the divine plan. It does this in a unique way by providing essays from experts of various disciplines that include history, theology, science, medicine, law, and governmental policy.
The occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Humanae vitae offers a teaching moment. In this compendium, experts representing a variety of disciplines including history, culture, theology, medicine, law, and psychology present their reflections upon God’s divine plan as described in Humanae vitae. The authors first presented this work in an abbreviated form at a symposium held at The Catholic University of America (April 4-6, 2018). Here, their presentations are substantively developed and hopefully will encourage further scholarly work. Ultimately, their purpose is to help the reader arrive at a more positive understanding of the teachings found in Humanae vitae. Although designed for the educated reader, the essays presume that when the teachings of Humanae vitae are embraced by men and women, they can contribute to the healing of the wounds of a world broken by sin but redeemed by Christ.
Janet E. Smith presents a comprehensive review of this issue from a philosophical and theological perspective. Tracing the emergence of the debate from the mid-1960s and reviewing the documents from the Special Papl Commission established to advise Pope Paul VI, Smith also examines the Catholic Church's position on marriage, which provides context for its condemnation of contraception.
Choice Magazine's Outstanding Academic Books for 2004The only book to cover the entire history of birth control and the intense controversies about reproduction rights that have raged in the United States for more than 150 years, The Moral Property of Women is a thoroughly updated and revised version of the award-winning historian Linda Gordon's classic history Woman's Body, Woman's Right, originally published in 1976.Arguing that reproduction control has always been central to women's status, The Moral Property of Women shows how opposition to it has long been part of the conservative opposition to gender equality. From its roots in folk medicine and in a campaign so broad it constituted a grassroots social movement at some points in history, to its legitimization through public policy, the widespread acceptance of birth control has involved a major reorientation of sexual values.
Gordon puts today's reproduction control controversies--foreign aid for family planning, the abortion debates, teenage pregnancy and childbearing, stem-cell research--into historical perspective and shows how the campaign to legalize abortion is part of a 150-year-old struggle over reproductive rights, a struggle that has followed a circuitous path. Beginning with the "folk medicine" of birth control, Gordon discusses how the backlash against the first women's rights movement of the 1800s prohibited both abortion and contraception about 130 years ago. She traces the campaign for legal reproduction control from the 1870s to the present and argues that attitudes toward birth control have been inseparable from family values, especially standards about sexuality and gender equality.
Highlighting both leaders and followers in the struggle, The Moral Property of Women chronicles the contributions of well-known reproduction control pioneers such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger, and Emma Goldman, as well as lesser- known campaigners including the utopian socialist Robert Dale Owen, the three doctors Foote--Edward Bliss Foote, Edward Bond Foote, and Mary Bond Foote--the civil libertarian Mary Ware Dennett, and the daring Jane project of the 1970s, in which Chicago women's liberation activists performed illegal abortions.
Since 2006, when the “morning-after pill” Plan B was first sold over the counter, sales of emergency contraceptives have soared, becoming an $80-million industry in the United States and throughout the Western world. But emergency contraception is nothing new. It has a long and often contentious history as the subject of clashes not only between medical researchers and religious groups, but also between different factions of feminist health advocates.
The Morning After tells the story of emergency contraception in America from the 1960s to the present day and, more importantly, it tells the story of the women who have used it. Side-stepping simplistic readings of these women as either radical feminist trailblazers or guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical industry, medical historian Heather Munro Prescott offers a portrait of how ordinary women participated in the development and popularization of emergency contraception, bringing a groundbreaking technology into the mainstream with the potential to alter radically reproductive health practices.
One Quarter of Humanity presents evidence about historical and contemporary Chinese population behavior that overturns much of the received wisdom about the differences between China and the West. James Lee and Wang Feng argue that there has been effective regulation of population growth in China through a variety of practices that depressed marital fertility to levels far below European standards, and through the widespread practices of infanticide and abortion. These practices and other distinctive features of the Chinese demographic and social system, they argue, led to a different demographic transition in China from the one that took place in the West.
Early twentieth-century Arizona was a life-threatening place for new and expectant mothers. Towns were small and very far apart, and the weather and harsh landscape often delayed midwives. It was not uncommon for a woman to give birth without medical care and with the aid of only family members. By the 1920s, Arizona was at the top of the list for the highest number of infant deaths.
Mary Melcher’s Pregnancy, Motherhood, and Choice in Twentieth-Century Arizona provides a deep and diverse history of the dramatic changes in childbirth, birth control, infant mortality, and abortion over the course of the last century. Using oral histories, memoirs, newspaper accounts, government documents, letters, photos, and biographical collections, this fine-grained study of women’s reproductive health places the voices of real women at the forefront of the narrative, providing a personal view into some of the most intense experiences of their lives.
Tackling difficult issues such as disparities in reproductive health care based on race and class, abortion, and birth control, this book seeks to change the way the world looks at women’s health. An essential read for both historians and public health officials, this book reveals that many of the choices and challenges that women once faced remain even today.
"Joffe takes us from the most private aspects of sexuality into the arena of public policy and state regulation."
"The author convincingly argues that the Federal Government, the feminist movement and the New Right fail to adequately address the often wrenching conflicts faced daily by birth control and abortion workers. [These conflicts] have spurred many family planning workers to construct and implement a wholly unauthorized vision of family planning policy, one that melds pure ideology with the complicated truths of individuals' social and sexual lives.... [Joffe] makes a cogent and finely nuanced case for the wisdom-indeed, the necessity- of this vision."
--Marian Sandmaier, New York Times Book Review
"A psychosocial presentation at its best, the book probes and illuminates the workers' whole environment, documenting their need for status and engagement to offset meager pay and enervating routine and their need to balance sexual liberalism with concern for immature, vulnerable women. A valuable resource that clarifies human service programs as a whole."
"A wonderfully alive and readable ethnographic study."
--The Women's Review of Books
Reproductive Restraints traces the history of contraception use and population management in colonial India, while illuminating its connection to contemporary debates in India and birth control movements in Great Britain and the United States. Sanjam Ahluwalia draws attention to the interactive and relational history of Indian birth control by including western activists such as Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes alongside important Indian campaigners. In revealing the elitist politics of middle-class feminists, Indian nationalists, western activists, colonial authorities and the medical establishment, Ahluwalia finds that they all sought to rationalize procreation and regulate women while invoking competing notions of freedom, femininity, and family.
Ahluwalia’s remarkable interviews with practicing midwives in rural northern India fills a gaping void in the documentary history of birth control and shows that the movement has had little appeal to non-elite groups in India. Finding that Jaunpuri women’s reproductive decisions are bound to their emotional, cultural, and economic reliance on family and community, Ahluwalia presents the limitations of universal liberal feminist categories, which often do not consider differences among localized subjects. She argues that elitist birth control efforts failed to account for Indian women’s values and needs and have worked to restrict reproductive rights rather than liberate subaltern Indian women since colonial times.
When Margaret Sanger returned to Europe in 1920, World War I had altered the social landscape as dramatically as it had the map of Europe. Population concerns, sexuality, venereal disease, and contraceptive use had entered public discussion, and Sanger's birth control message found receptive audiences around the world. This volume focuses on Sanger from her groundbreaking overseas advocacy during the interwar years through her postwar role in creating the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The documents reconstruct Sanger's dramatic birth control advocacy tours through early 1920s Germany, Japan, and China in the midst of significant government and religious opposition to her ideas. They also trace her tireless efforts to build a global movement through international conferences and tours. Letters, journal entries, writings, and other records reveal Sanger's contentious dealings with other activists, her correspondence with the likes of Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt, and Sanger's own dramatic evolution from gritty grassroots activist to postwar power broker and diplomat.
In most countries, educated women have fewer children and have them later than uneducated women. In Uncertain Honor, Jennifer Johnson-Hanks argues that this demographic fact has social causes by offering a rich case study of contraception, abortion, and informal adoption among educated, ethnic Beti women in southern Cameroon.
Combining insights from demography and cultural anthropology, Johnson-Hanks argues that Beti women delay motherhood as part of a broader attempt to assert a modern form of honor only recently made possible by formal education, Catholicism, and economic change. Through itinerant school careers and manipulations of marriage, educated Beti women now manage their status as mothers in order to coordinate major life events in the face of social and economic uncertainty.
Carefully researched and clearly written, Uncertain Honor offers an intimate look at the lives of African women trying to reconcile motherhood with new professional roles in a context of dramatic social change.
In When Sex Changed, Layne Parish Craig analyzes the ways literary texts responded to the political, economic, sexual, and social values put forward by the birth control movements of the 1910s to the 1930s in the United States and Great Britain.
Discussion of contraception and related topics (including feminism, religion, and eugenics) changed the way that writers depicted women, marriage, and family life. Tracing this shift, Craig compares disparate responses to the birth control controversy, from early skepticism by mainstream feminists, reflected in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland, to concern about the movement’s race and class implications suggested in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand, to enthusiastic speculation about contraception’s political implications, as in Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas.
While these texts emphasized birth control’s potential to transform marriage and family life and emancipate women from the “slavery” of constant childbearing, birth control advocates also used less-than-liberatory language that excluded the poor, the mentally ill, non-whites, and others. Ultimately, Craig argues, the debates that began in these early political and literary texts—texts that document both the birth control movement’s idealism and its exclusionary rhetoric—helped shape the complex legacy of family planning and women’s rights with which the United States and the United Kingdom still struggle.
Where Human Rights Begin
Chavkin, Wendy Rutgers University Press, 2005 Library of Congress HQ766.15.W46 2005 | Dewey Decimal 305.42
More than a decade ago, three landmark world conferences placed the human rights of women on the international agenda. The first, in Vienna, officially extended the definition of human rights to include a woman’s right to self-determination and equality. A year later, in Cairo, this concept was elaborated to deal explicitly with issues of sexuality and procreation. Subsequently, at a conference in Beijing, the international community committed to a wide range of practical interventions to advance women’s sexual, social, political, and economic rights.
Despite these accomplishments, we find ourselves at an ever more difficult juncture in the struggle to fully realize women’s rights as human rights. Complications, such as terrorism and the “war” against it, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the incursion of religious fundamentalism into governments, and the U.S. government’s retreat from the international agenda on sexual and reproductive rights have raised questions about the direction of policy implementations and have prevented straightforward progress.
This timely collection brings together eight wide-reaching and provocative essays that examine the practical and theoretical issues of sexual and reproductive health policy and implementation.
In the 1960s thousands of poor women of color on the (post)colonial French island of Reunion had their pregnancies forcefully terminated by white doctors; the doctors operated under the pretext of performing benign surgeries, for which they sought government compensation. When the scandal broke in 1970, the doctors claimed to have been encouraged to perform these abortions by French politicians who sought to curtail reproduction on the island, even though abortion was illegal in France. In The Wombs of Women—first published in French and appearing here in English for the first time—Françoise Vergès traces the long history of colonial state intervention in black women’s wombs during the slave trade and postslavery imperialism as well as in current birth control politics. She examines the women’s liberation movement in France in the 1960s and 1970s, showing that by choosing to ignore the history of the racialization of women’s wombs, French feminists inevitably ended up defending the rights of white women at the expense of women of color. Ultimately, Vergès demonstrates how the forced abortions on Reunion were manifestations of the legacies of the racialized violence of slavery and colonialism.