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  1. 1
    034448

    Abortion: an eternal social and moral issue.

    Instructional Aides

    Plano, Texas, Instructional Aides, 1984. 78 p. (A Guide on Current Topics)

    This document provides readers with a review of the history of the controversy regarding abortion, a summary of the major positions on both sides of this debate, and an assessment of public opinion regarding abortion. It draws heavily on research materials from the Centers for Disease Control, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the Population Council. Chapter 1 sets the abortion issue in historical perspective. Chapter 2 focuses on US Supreme Court decisions, while Chapter 3 discusses Congressional activities. Chapter 4 presents statistical data on the abortion rate in the US, demographic characteristics of abortion seekers, abortion techniques, and abortion-related mortality. Chapter 5 surveys the status of abortion around the world. Chapter 6 presents survey results on public attitudes toward abortion. Chapters 7 and 8 include statements from national leaders who believe abortion should not and should, respectively, be outlawed, while Chapters 9 and 10 present statements on both side of the debate as to whether the moment human life begins can be determined. Appendix I presents excerpts from Vatican position papers on abortion. Appendix II summarizes US laws, state by state, that limit access to abortion. Appendix III cites federal laws restricting abortion funding. Appendix IV presents proposed abortion legislation. And finally, Appendix V lists addresses of organizations that support abortion, organizations that oppose abortion, and institutions that maintain statistics on abortions in the US. Instructional Aides provides similar documents on a number of social issues, including aging, health, immigration, minorities, and women.
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  2. 2
    056358

    Twenty one years of legal abortion.

    Munday D; Francome C; Savage W

    BMJ. British Medical Journal. 1989 May 6; 298(6682):1231-4.

    The effects of the 1967 Abortion Act, legislation which extends to women living in England, Wales, and Scotland, are reviewed. The Act was not backed by any specific allocation of money for facilities or staff within the National Health Service and the service provided has varied from district to district. Yet, the number of abortions increased rapidly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This process had slowed down by 1974, when the number of abortions dropped for the 1st time. The introduction of free contraception seems to have had an important effect; the number of abortions declined by nearly 9000 from 1973-76, and the abortion rate fell from 11.4 to 10.5/1000 women aged 15-44. The number increased in 1977 and 1978, possibly because of adverse publicity about the side effects of oral contraception (OC). The rate of abortion in Scotland, although lower than the rate in England and Wales, has risen steadily since 1969. An important effect of the 1967 Act has been to reduce the number of deaths due to illegal abortions. In the 1st decade of legal abortion, the proportion of all maternal deaths that were due to abortion dropped from 25% to 7%. The number of recorded deaths due to abortion declined from 160 during 1961-63 to 9 during 1982-84. There were 7 deaths after legal abortions during 1982-84 and 4 during 1985-87. 21 years after the passage of the Act half of all women having legal abortions pay for them. The regional differences in the provision of abortion services have persisted since 1968. The proportion of abortions performed in the 1st trimester increased from 66% in 1969 to 86% in 1987, yet the proportions of early abortions in Britain still compare poorly with other countries. In the US, women have been able to request abortion in the 1st trimester since 1974; by 1977 this led to 91% of abortions being performed in this period. Regional differences in the surgical methods persist, and there may be considerable delays between a woman asking for an abortion and the procedure being performed. A Marplan poll conducted in 1988 reported that 80% of those surveyed thought that women should have the right to choose an abortion in the 1st few months of pregnancy; 15% disagreed, and 5% did not know or did not respond. The number of women coming to Britain for abortions peaked in 1973, when 56,000 came. The rate of abortion per 1000 women in England and Wales is 14.8, a moderate figure when compared to other nations -- rates range from 5.6 in the Netherlands to 181 in the USSR.
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  3. 3
    045445

    Moral reform and the anti-abortion movement.

    Clarke A

    SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW. 1987 Feb; 35(1):123-49.

    The activities of 2 main pressure groups in the decade of the 1970s--the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) and the LIFE organization--and the evidence they submitted to the Lane Committee, established in 1971 to examine the working of the Abortion Act, and the Select Committee, formed to discuss James White's Amendment Bill in 174, are reviewed. Official campaign literature, public statements on the part of leading anti-abortion activists, national press reports, and parliamentary debates on the issues have helped to provide some insight into the ideological stance of the anti-abortion movement in England and Wales during the 1970s. Fieldwork was undertaken which included nonparticipant observation at local branch meetings of SPUC and LIFE, the completion of a self-administered questionnaire by 64 group members, and semi-structured interviews with 25 local campaign leaders and group activists. The subsequent analysis presents anti-abortion protest as an example of moral crusade by focusing on Gusfield's notion of cultural fundamentalism and his analytical distinction between assimilative and coercive reform. Some participants in the anti-abortion campaign accept that a small number of abortions may need to be performed for genuine medical reasons and do not adopt the extreme position that abortion should be prohibited. This group does demand a change in the law to prevent mass abortion on demand. Both LIFE and SPUC have a clearly recognizable moral reform dimension. The analysis of the campaign literature and the study of a small sample of campaign activists revealed that pressure group members share a common concern about the erosion of moral standards. To adopt the terminology of Gusfield, the anti-abortion movement can be construed, in part, as a movement of cultural fundamentalism, which favors the reestablishment of traditional values and seeking an end to the moral uncertainty endemic in modern society. As the anti-abortion movement is primarily concerned about amending existing legislation, a coercive strategy of reform prevails. The analysis makes it evident that the anti-abortionists in their emphasis on fundamental values seek to promote a traditional sexual morality but also are trying to establish what they believe to be the moral superiority of the traditional nuclear family. Due to the fact that no abortion amendment bills have been proposed on which to focus their campaign, in recent years the anti-abortionists have increasingly focused on the enforcement of existing legislation in an effort to reduce the number of abortions and publicize their moral stance.
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  4. 4
    043722

    Are you for RU-486? A new pill and the abortion debate.

    Kaye T

    NEW REPUBLIC. 1986 Jan 27; 13-5.

    RU-486, a new drug which enables women to perform abortions privately at home, could transform, if not end, the abortion debate. This steroid compound, developed by the French drug company Roussel-Uclaf, blocks the cells in the lining of the uterus from receiving progesterone. Deprived of progesterone, the wall of the uterus breaks down. The ovum breaks off from the uterine wall and is discharged in a period. Unlike the "morning after" pill, RU-486 does not contain massive dosages of estrogen, which causes unhealthy side effects and thus limits its use to rape cases and other emergencies. At least 5 years away from the commercial market, RU-486 is being tested in Paris, Stockholm and the University of Southern California as a chemical alternative to surgical abortions and as a post-coital contraceptive to replace current methods like the IUD and oral contraceptives (OCs). Used instead of OC and the IUD, a woman could take the drug on the last 3 days of each cycle. If fertilization had occurred, RU-486 would prevent the ovum from implanting; if not, the drug would merely bring on her monthly period within 48 hours. Dr. Daniel Mishell of the University of California reports that his trials have revealed that 100 milligram doses of RU-486 have induced complete abortions in the first 6 weeks of pregnancy for 80% of the women who have taken it. Swedish tests have been 90% successful when RU-486 is supplemented with prostaglandins, which induce mild contractions of the uterus. Several women bled seriously in early tests, but Mishell states that fewer women have hemorrhaged in more recent trials with lower doses. He predicts the drug will prove to be safer and more effective when an optimal dose is found and tested in earlier pregnancies. If RU-486 became the abortion method of choice in the US, the abortion debate would be over for many who now consider it an open question. Polls show that the pro-life movement has failed to increase the number of Americans who support a legal ban on abortions. They have succeeded in making Americans uncomfortable about abortion generally. This soft support is vulnerable to RU-486 because polls also show that Americans oppose early abortions less fervently and in fewer numbers than late abortions. It is also likely that if RU-486 becomes the preferred method of abortion, abortion clinics in the US would close, replaced by 24-hour clinics to treat potential complications. And, if RU-486 is used monthly, pro-lifers would have a difficult time convincing the public that the drug isn't just another contraceptive. Although RU-486 erases much ambiguity in the abortion debate, it will create some. Women could take RU-486 without ever knowing whether they are pregnant.
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  5. 5
    041906

    Television tackles a taboo.

    Gorney C

    WASHINGTON POST. 1987 Feb 3; E1, E8.

    This newspaper feature story documents how the major U.S. television networks are breaking their self censorship of mentioning contraception and sexual responsibility in programs and advertisements. The first direct screening of word "condom" occurred on the series "Cagney and Lacey" in January 1988, followed by screening an image of a condom package on "Valerie" in February. At the same time, some stations are broadcasting tasteful 15-second ads for condoms. Phrases used in these ads included "for all the right reasons," and "I'll do a lot for love...but I'm not ready to die for it." It is likely that the threat of AIDS has prompted the revolutionary airing of the forbidden word during family viewing hours. The public response, particularly that of educators, has been largely favorable, although a Catholic spokesman complained that the ads encourage illicit sex purely to enlarge market share of condom markers. Five references to the value of sexual responsibility were cited on prime time shows in recent months. The vice president of CBS said that the network was trying to do anything that would help prevent AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. They have permitted no reference to practice of contraception in programming so far, even though characters are frequently shown in sexually explicit situations.
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  6. 6
    020309
    Peer Reviewed

    [Health personnel in the matter of legal abortion: physicians and other personnel should have the right to refuse to perform abortions] Lakare och ovrig personal skall ha ratt vagra utfora aborter.

    Jacobsson L; Von Schoultz BO; Lalos A; Bjork IB

    LAKARTIDNINGEN. 1983 Sep; 80(39):3541-5.

    712 responses to 765 questionnaires distributed to health care personnel revealed that, since 1975 when the abortion law came into effect in Sweden, attitudes toward abortion have become less critical than a 1972 survey had indicated. Most of the respondents (91%) were women, 50% worked in women's clinics, while the 114 control subjects were employed in psychiatric or surgical wards. Most had participated in abortion procedures (305 vacuum extractions and 296 late abortions), and only 125 had no direct experience with abortion. Most respondents (87%) had not had an abortion. Results showed that about 20% had a critical and uninformed view of legal abortion, 1/3 had difficulty with the thought of seeking an abortion, another 1/3 preferred adoption to abortion, and 50% thought society should curtail abortions. The attitudes of psychiatric staff were more liberal: 80% approved of seeking an abortion for themselves as opposed to only 50% of ob-gyn personnel. More respondents expressed a negative view of abortion in 1981 than in 1972 (only 20% approved of it in cases where there was no medical risk to the mother, whereas 37% had approved of it in 1972). Most respondents thought that the decision to seek abortion should also involve men, and to a lesser degree, gynecologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. The majority (92.8%) approved of extensive counseling prior to abortion. 64% approved of special abortion clinics and also gave a positive response to the question of whether performing abortions was one of the duties of physicians. Another 46% of the respondents agreed that medical personnel had the right to deny abortion. A large percentage (66%) considered the abortion procedure a negative experience, especially doctors and operating room nurses. The majority of respondents (344 = 80%) thought that better information about contraception, fetal development, and sexuality would help reduce prevailing abortion figures. About 1/2 of those surveyed also favored a more restrictive abortion law. Finally, many respondents stressed that socio-economic factors, employment, and male attitudes about child rearing contributed to individual decisions.
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  7. 7
    037419
    Peer Reviewed

    Radio and family planning in Israel: letters to broadcasters.

    Shtarkshall R; Basker E

    Journal of Communication. 1985 Spring; 35(2):69-81.

    Diaspora Jewry is being diminished in numbers by intermarriage, assimilation, and a low birth rate. In Israel, the establishment has strongly pronatalist convictions and tends to see family planning as synonymous with promotion of the use of contraception to limit births. In 1978 and 1979, a series of programs entitled "It's Not A Children's Game" was broadcast on Israel's state-owned radio broadcasting system. The motto of the series was "to help families have as many children as they want, when they want them." Its goals were to give the public basic information about services and about various means of contraception or of fertility improvement. The letters to the radio station in response to these programs are analyzed in this study. Based on the form and content of the letters, one is able to derive information about the marital status, sex, residence, and religious observance of the letter writers and to classify them as primarily help-seekers or opinion-givers. Help-seeking letters were usually very clear and direct in their requests for help. The opinion-giving letters ranged from strongly negative to strongly positive about the program and the theme of family planning. These letters can provide insights about the specific group of people who sought information or help outside of their immediate surroundings. Thus, an analysis of the written responses to a radio series on family planning suggests that radio can offer a nonthreatening way to disseminate information on sensitive and controversial social issues, and that it is possible to tentatively identify subgroups with special needs.
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  8. 8
    032480

    America's challenge.

    Lindsay GN

    Victor-Bostrom Fund Report. 1968 Fall; (10):24-6.

    As government increasingly recognizes its own obligations to support and provide family planning as a health and social measure, serious questions are raised as to the proper role for Planned Parenthood World Federation as a private organization. Federal programs both at home and abroad tend to make private fundraising more difficult, whatever the role of this organization may be. Contrary to common impression, experience thus far indicates that the existence of governmental programs does not decrease demands on Planned Parenthood as a private agency. A wide gap also exists between public acceptance, which has been realized, and public conviction, which still has not been accepted. Only those who feel distress at the vision of an all-encompassing megalopolis, only those with concern for the qualify of life in the crowd, and only those who see finite limits of resources recognize that the US must someday plan a halt to population growth. As the gap between the developed and the underdeveloped world widens, economists point out that the US, with less than 6% of the world's population, already consumes some 50% of the world's available raw materials. Business and government leaders are beginning to understand the rate at which an industrial and affluent society consumes the world's substance and threatens the environment. If the assumption is correct that the population explosion constitutes a major threat to life on earth, then America's own attitudes and actions at home, as well as abroad and in the developing countries, are vital. In the next few years Planned Parenthood faces the task of converting the tide of public acceptance into one of conviction and effective action on a giant scale both at home and abroad. In its effort, Planned Parenthood has continued to expand its own service functions. It now has 157 local affiliates with an additional 30 in the organizational stage. In 1967 Planned Parenthood affiliates operated 470 family planning centers, 71 more than in the previous year. Beginning in 1964 an attempt was made to quantify the needs and the costs of bringing birth control services to all who need it in the US. The partnership with government has been more intimate than simple parallelism of effort. Planned Parenthood initiated or helped to administer nearly half of the family planning projects sponsored by the War on Poverty. It has served as a consultant on family planning programs to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and assisted affiliates and other community agencies in developing project applications for federal funds totalling about $4 million, of which about $2 million for 25 projects has been funded. Planned Parenthood World Population has undertaken the planning function and has for that purpose established a national technical assistance center and program.
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  9. 9
    032326

    American physicians and birth control, 1936-1947.

    Ray JM; Gosling FG

    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.
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  10. 10
    029324

    Response of patients and doctors to the 1983 'pill scare'.

    Ritchie LD Berkeley MI

    Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners. 1984 Nov; 34(268):600-2.

    The immediate responses of physicians and patients to adverse publicity about the possibility of cancer among women using combined oral contraceptives (OCs) were studied in 2 separate locations: the main family planning clinic in the city of Aberdeen, and a provincial general practice of 10 doctors based in the Peterhead Health Centre. A press release was issued 1 day prior to publication of 2 articles in the Lancet of 22 October 1983, reporting possible risks of breast and cervical cancer in some patients on combined OCs. For the 20 workdays immediately after publication, the 16 participating doctors at both locations collected survey data on the ages of patients and outcomes of consultations for all patients who expressed concern about the OCs. In the family planning clinic, 207 consultations with clinic doctors were prompted by anxiety over the pill and accounted for 24.8% of the workload over the 20 days. In the practice, 73 women (7.8% of all the pill users) who attended over the 20 days expressed concern about OCs. The general practitioners reported lower than expected levels of patient response, whereas the family planning clinic required extra sessions to accomodate the temporary upsurge in demand. At each consultation, the doctor either changed the type of pill, changed the method of contraception, or offered reassurance only. At the family planning clinic and practice respectively, the 1st outcome choices were a change of pills for 58.5% and 39.7% of patients, a change of method for 14.0% and 2.7%, and reassurance only for 27.5% and 57.5%. The mean age of patients was 25.1 years at the family planning clinic and 25.6 years at the health center. This limited study suggests that the predicted "pill scare" did not occur at the Peterhead Health Centre, while in contrast the family planning clinic reported a marked increase in workload including inquiries from the press and local radio stations. Factors accounting for the general practitioners' more conservative responses to patients with pill-related anxiety may have included differences in the type of patient seen; the greater time constraints on the general practitioners, whose patients were booked at 6-minute intervals compared to 12-minute intervals in the clinic; or the continuity of care provided by the general practitioners.
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  11. 11
    028250

    Humanae Vitae and the sense of the faithful. Some questions for theologians.

    Greeley A

    Critic. 1977 Spring; 14-25.

    The lack of acceptance of the Catholic Church's teachings on birth control on the part of the devout laity of the church raises the possibility that the teachings are wrong, i.e., they do not reflect Catholic truth as manifested through the sense of the faithful. According to a study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, 87% of the Catholics in the US do not accept the church's position on birth control. Catholic tradition supports the position that infallible Catholic truths can emerge from the sense of the faithful, i.e., that God speaks through the faithful. The church is, therefore, confronted with a dilemma. The leadership, claiming divine guidance, is at odds with the sense of the faithful. Conservative elements in the church dismiss the dilemma by claiming that only those who accept the teachings of the church are true Catholics. Many church leaders believe that the dilemma stems from inadequate pastoral work. They maintain that more intensive pastoral work will eventually convince the laity of the validity of the teachings. Another explanation should at least be considered. Perhaps the teachings are wrong. Perhaps they were arrived at through inappropriate means. This possibility is explored using sociological knowledge about the decision making process in voluntary organization and the study of the historical reception of Catholic teaching by Father Pere Congar. The church can be viewed as a voluntary organization since membership is optional. In a voluntary organization the function of a leader is to promote consensual decision making. Divine guidance is, in reality, the process of promoting a consensus. The leader draws the truth, the Word of God, out of the sense of the faithful. The church is infallible not because it has automatic access to a set of right answers, but because it has the capacity to identify inadequate answers and to work until it has drawn out the truth from the faithful. Furthermore, the work of Father Congar demonstrates that histoircally the council of the church has become effective only after it has been received and accepted by the whole church. If it is not accepted it is eventually abandoned. In summary, ecclesiastical authority may be viewed, not as some automatically given addition ot the Word of God, but as the spiritual discernment of the sense of God in the total community of the faithful. If this argument is applicable to infallible truths then it should also be applicable to the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church, including the birth control encyclical, i.e., the Humanae Vitae.
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  12. 12
    731938

    Relationships between governments and voluntary family planning associations.

    London, International Planned Parenthood Federation, March 1973. Family Planning Reviews. No. 1. 40 p

    The report discusses general trends in relationships between governments and voluntary family planning associations and the specifics relevant to particular nations. At the beginning of 1973, 109 nongovernmental family planning associations existed and 40 governments carried out official programs. In many nations governmental participation occurs even without an official policy. Some governments provide family planning arrangements within the regular public health network. In some cases the government assists private efforts with funding, facilities, or doctors' time. A combination of approaches is typical. As government takes on more responsibilities, private associations often relinquish their service roles and expand their educational and motivational activities. In the future, government involvement and interest in family planning should increase. Charts summarize the international situation in government/voluntary family planning association relationships.
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  13. 13
    710145

    The pill on trial.

    Kistner RW

    American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. April 15, 1971; 109(8):1118-1127.

    The 1970 Nelson Committee hearings were held to determine whether Pill users were properly told about the side effects and suspected complications. The author charges the Committee hearings of sensationalizing adverse results of the Pill, causing 18% of all U.S. users to stop this treatment and another 23% to seriously consider quitting. A survey following the Nelson hearings showed 97% of the 13,000 U.S. obstetricians and gynecologists questioned believed oral contraceptives to be medically acceptable. The Scowen report of England (1970) said the Pill is the best contraceptive available, and the low-estrogen pill (50 mcg) is the safest. Because of the relationship of the pill to thromboembolism brought out by Nelson hearings oral contraceptives now must carry a health warning, and the result of the Scowen Committee will most likely encourage doctors to prescribe low dosage estrogen pills.
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  14. 14
    027443

    Flow and use of population information in Thailand.

    Rauyajin O

    Bangkok, Ministry of Public Health, National Family Planning Programme, Thai Population Clearing-House-Documentation Centre, 1983 Jan. 101 p. (ASEAN/Australian Project No. 3: Developing/Strengthening National Population Information Ststems and Networks in ASEAN Countries)

    To study the flow of population information from the producers to the users in Thailand and to evaluate the use of population information by the user groups, users were divided into 3 groups--policy makers and acamedicians, program implementors, and the general public. Data were collected by mail questionnaire. Among the policy makers and the academicians, basic demographic data were the most utilized. Academicians indicated that data on population and family planning were consistent with their needs. Considering usefulness of the data for their work, data on family planning policy and birth control were the most useful for makers while basic demographic data were the most useful for academicians. Data on urbanization, law, and population policy of other countries seemed to be the least utilized and the least useful. The policy makers did not receive enough information on: population and social and economic development, production and consumption of agricultural products, population education, and law and population policy of Thailand. The academicians did not receive enough information on almost all 13 topics except information about population policy and birth control, services, and administration. Both groups indicated that the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) was the major source of the data they received. The policy implementors dealt with documents and printing materials in family planning and indicated that the "Journal of Family Health", format was suitable. Regarding the programmed manual or lessons in family planning, the implementors indicated that they were interesting and consistent with their needs. Regarding the kit, the folder, sampling of contraceptive devices, and the model of the uterus were the most utilized materials. The implementors indicated that folders on 6 types of contraceptive methods were useful and adequate for their work. The study directed to the general public dealt with information in family planning disseminated through radio and posters. 2 types of programs were transmitted the radio: song supplemented with information on family planning and drama supplemented with information. The public indicated that the 1st type was a good and interesting program. The respondents evaluated the drama program as good. The majority of the respondents had seen the posters about family planning and indicated a fair amount of interest in them.
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