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Journal of Social History. 1985 Spring; 18(3):399-411.The transition from resistance to acceptance of birth control in the US can be characterized as a 3 stage process, with each period facing its own issues and choices. The 1st stage -- the fight over birth control in the early 20th century -- has been documented by historians like James Reed, Linda Gordon, and David Kennedy. A 2nd stage, approximately the years from 1936-60, has not been fully explored although the period was crucial in shaping the current system of contraceptive health care. This discussion focuses on this transitional period, particularly its 1st decade, 1936-47. Physicians' attitudes, as revealed through American Medical Association (AMA) policy and a national survey conducted in 1947, are considered in relation to reported data on clinic and private practice. This evidence reveals that despite the liberalization of laws and public opinion in the mid-1930s, contraception did not become widely available until after 1960 -- the beginning of the 3rd stage in the history of American contraception -- and that the restriction of birth control information during the period was traceble in large part to the medical profession. Analysis of the 1936-47 decade, particularly with regard to the concerns of doctors, provides a framework for understanding the forces that affected contraceptive health care in the mid 20th century and suggests conditions that continue to shape the politics of birth control. In 1936, when the AMA's committee on contraception submitted its 1st report, it was clear that legal and public opinion had moved decisively toward more liberal attitudes concerning birth control. In 1937 the AMA passed a qualified endorsement of birth control, indicating that the organized medical profession as represented by the AMA held views on birth control at the beginning of the 2nd stage that were more conservative than those of most middle-class Americans. Its conservatism was challenged by lay groups who threatened to circumvent standard office practice if physicians failed to modify their views. Public opinion and behavior thus had a demonstrable effect on medical attitudes. 10 years after the AMA resolution a suvey found that more than 2/3 of physicians approved of contraception for any married women who requested it. The 1937-47 period witnessed 2 important changes in medical attitudes toward contraception: the profession's public, though cautious, endorsement of birth control; and the apparent adoption of liberalized standards for the prescription of contraceptive materials. The period also was a time of tremendous growth for the new birth control clinics that offered services to women who could not afford private care. Available evidence suggests that physicians' attitudes toward contraception, and particularly toward birth control clinics, were more important than either laws or public opinion in limiting the availability of those contraceptives considered most efficient (and most compatible with sexual pleasure) between 1936-60.
[Family planning counseling centers in Brazil] Consultori per la pianificazione familiare in Brasile
Sociologia Del Diritto. 1980; 7(2):125-37.The authors describe conditions in Brazil that led to the establishment of family planning centers in 1965 and their institutionalization in 1971. Their organization is described, and a table showing attendance at family planning clinics is presented. Family planning is discussed in relation to social conditions in Brazil, and the results of an empirical study of population growth and family planning are introduced. The study includes tabulated results of a survey undertaken in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in 1967-1977 to examine attitudes toward contraception, use of the pill, and government policy on birth control. (summary in ENG)
[Unpublished] 1981. Presented at the Fifty-Eighth Annual Meeting of the American Orthopsychiatric Association, New York, March 28-April 1, 1981. 14 p.Approximately 1.3 million teenage pregnancies result from the pervasive sexual activity which majority of teenagers aged 15-19 indulge in today. Adolescent pregnancy and childbirth has adverse health, psychosocial and economic effects for both adolescent parents and their children. Analysis of the trend in American public opinion toward sex education and contraception using data from the American Institute of Public Opinion (the Gallup Organization) shows that majority of the public have always favored sex education for teenagers and are almost as approving of specifically providing birth control information as part of the sex education. (Compared to Census data, Gallup samples of approximately 1500 cases have generally been found to be representative of age, sex, race and geographic area groupings; the 95% sampling tolerance for the samples is within 3% in either direction). There is also a generally upward trend in approval of providing contraception for teenagers. Since 1972, most Americans have approved of contraceptive services for teenagers. The favorable public opinion toward sex education and contraception is brought about by: 1) mass media exposure of the subject of teenage sexuality, 2) establishment of teenager programs by opinion leaders, and 3) recent recognition by courts of the rights of minors, including access to fertility control services on their own consent. Inspite of favorable public opinion however, current poliby concerning sex education and adolescent contraceptive services does not reflect public support. Only 30 states have policies expressly addressing sex education in schools, and even these policies do not reflect strong commitment to such instruction. Thus, most students do not receive sex education and over half of the teenage population at risk of unplanned pregnancy is not receiving contraceptive services. Half of initial premarital pregnancies by teenagers occur in the first 6 months of sexual activity. Thus, adolescent sex education programs must reach young people of both sexes before they begin sexual activity. Accessibility is the most important determinant of contraceptive use by teenagers. Provision of more and better teenage contraceptive services and sex education should be an important policy goal of the American people.