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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.
JOURNAL OF THE FLORIDA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION. 1986 Oct; 73(10):763-8.The increase in safety and public confidence in oral contraceptives (OCs) stems essentially from 3 factors: the availability of lower dose OCs, a better identification of risk factors, and more public awareness of noncontraceptive health benefits associated with OC use. The combination OC, used by 99% of women using OCs, continues to contain estrogen and progesterone in synthetic form, but the dosages and formulations have changed, giving the new pill a wider margin of safety. The OCs of today contain 1/5 the estrogen and 1/10 the progesterone as in the original OCs. During the decade of the 1980s, with estrogen dosage as low as therapeutically possible, medical research has shifted toward a more thorough evaluation of the progesterone component. In 1974 the Royal College of General Practitioners Study found a correlation between progesterone dosage and the frequency of high blood pressure developing in OC users. Subsequent studies reported that high blood pressure, which was likely to develop in about 5% of OC users on higher dose pill, will revert to normal when OC use is stopped. Additional research has linked pills containing progesterone in high dosages to elevations in blood sugar and blood cholesterol. Since progesterone dosage has declined from 10 milligrams in the original pill to 1 milligram or less in current formulations, there appears to be a wide margin of safety for most healthy young women using OCs. In the mid-1980s, further research on OCs has become more fine tuned with greater emphasis on how different types and combinations of hormones influence side effects and safety. The most recent development has been the introduction of "multiphasics" or sometimes called "triphasics." Multiphasic pills are basically low dose pills which vary hormone dosage in each of 3 separate phases in an effort to roughly simulate changes that would occur in a normal menstrual cycle. A better understanding of risk factors has increased markedly the margin of safety for women considering OC use. The report of the Alan Guttmacher Institute, "Making Choices," revealed that if women over 35 or who smoked did not use OCs, 86% of the approximately 500 pill-related deaths that occurred each year could be prevented. The Guttmacher report also attempted to quantify health benefits and risks to provide a more accurate overall picture of OC effects. Table 1 shows that many more hospitalizations are prevented than are caused by OC use. Among hospitalizations prevented, most were for benign breast disease, pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer. No evidence has linked defects or miscarriages to pregnancies conceived immediately after stopping OC use. The overall fertility of OC users and non-OC users is identical regardless of how long a woman uses OCs. A lack of consistent health education programs in the public schools has contributed in some instances to misinformation about OC and other contraceptive methods.
[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.
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.
[Medico-social prevention, fertility, and development] Prevention medico-sociale, fecondite et developpement.
REVUE TUNISIENNE DE SCIENCES SOCIALES. 1986; 23(84-87):423-510.The author reports on a sample survey of 738 Tunisians, conducted to investigate the impact of preventive and social medicine on health and fertility. The sample population, drawn from the 1975 census, is described. Attention is given to the role played by information sources, particularly mass media, in preventive medicine, alcoholism and the prevention of traffic accidents, and public opinion concerning preventive medicine. Attitudes toward family planning are mentioned in the final section, and a copy of the questionnaire used is included. (ANNOTATION)
[Emancipation and population problems: a secondary analysis of the CBS survey on different aspects of life, 1974] Emancipatie en bevolkingsproblematiek: een secundaire analyse op het leefsituatie-onderzoek 1974.
BEVOLKING EN GEZIN. 1985 Jul; (1):7-23.Findings from a sample survey in the city of Leiden and pertaining to the relationship between background variables and attitudes towards population policy, are compared with results from a nationwide survey among the Dutch population in 1974. Multivariate analyses confirm the relationship between indicators of emancipation, population policy variables, and political orientation. People in favour of information regarding population growth, are often in favour of measures promoting birth control and they also advocate the extension of child care facilities. (SUMMARY IN ENG) (EXCERPT)
Ann Arbor, Michigan, University Microfilms International, 1985. iv, 288 p. (8516028)The beginning of the birth control movement covered the period from 1900 to 1920. At that time, books, magazines, and newspapers had almost nothing to offer people about contraceptive methods. At most, the media provided theoretical arguments for and against birth control and news of the movement. Laws passed in the last quarter of the 19th century against discussion of prevention of conception prevented publication of information. The coverage was sporadic and uneven, not only because of the laws but also because of the press's perception of people's values. Press coverage appeared in 4 types of publications: professional (legal, medical, social work), radical (socialist and anarchist), popular (newspapers and magazines) and government. During the period 1890 to 1915, the coverage focused on the development of the movement, and, during the period 1916 to 1920, it focused on the establishment of the movement. In covering birth control, the press carried out a persuasive role. The personal values of the writers, editors, and publishers, their professional values and the information available to them controlled their use or non-use of specific information. This control meant that they were primarily persuaders and only supplementally informers. These functions were part of the more basic revealing of Americans' beliefs about contraception, sex, gender, society, and life. That revealing fits the ritual view of communication, which described the role of the press in democratizing birth control. Birth control did not become a comfortable subject for press coverage and general conversation until Margaret Sanger challenged the laws directly. "Great person" reporting portrayed her as a woman changing history, which contributed not only to the maintenance of her image but also to the success of her work. Early in the century, advocates of contraception neither recognized nor used the press as an asset to their work. Where the press and publicity went, censors and police were very likely to follow. Much of what did appear in print was unfavorable, and birth control proponents did not seem to believe that even unfavorable publicity was good. Because she recognized the nature and value of "great person" reporting, Sanger slowly changed that relationship with the press and set up the basis for today's straightforward, supportive coverage of the subject. (author's)
Lexington, Kentucky, University of Kentucky, Center for Developmental Change, 1985 Jun. vii, 141 p. (CDC Development Papers No. 21)An interdisciplinary study, which incorporates a community-based and multimethod approach in a rural, historically high fertility community of Southern Appalachia, was conducted to describe the current pattern of fertility regulation behavior among the study population and to discern the most significant factors associated with such regulation in this contemporary rural-mountain community. A 3-phase research design was used, combining an inventory of local public opinion about birth control and family planning services with a social survey and related ethnographic field studies on the fertility regulation behavior of individuals and specifically married couples living in the community. In addition, the research team conducted a county-wide survey consisting of interviews with 407 married women of childbearing age (15-45) in intact conjugal units and a follow-up study involving indepth interviews with 107 of the 407 women. The county community hospital and health department have played a major role in the provision and delivery of family planning services to community residents since at least the early to mid-1960s. There is general agreement among community leaders, health professionals, and survey respondents that family planning services are now widely available and accessible to individuals and families throughout the county. There is general community support for smaller families and the decision of young married couples to use birth control and to postpone childbearing for a period of time following their marriage. Also there is general community support for educational activities in secondary schools. Family has declined for several reasons since the 1970s, including a tendency to think of childbearing in terms of socioeconomic conditions and to consider the costs of raising and educating children. Active fertility management practices among married couples appear to be rooted primarily in biological, economic, and family considerations as well as increased knowledge of wives and husbands about birth control and greater availability and accessibility of modern contraceptive methods. 8 out of 10 couples with wives who are not currently pregnant are using a method of fertility management. About half of these couples have chosen sterilization. Almost 2/3 of the wives among couples who were sterilized were either pregnant or just had a baby when the couple first considered sterilization. It is concluded that the contemporary patterns of fertility regulation among married couples in the study community are strikingly similar to those found among most other American couples today.
Ottawa, Canada, International Development Research Centre, 1973. 30 p. (IDRC-009e)This paper evaluates the progress of a Latin American population through stages in family planning adoption. The focus is on changes in knowledge of contraception, attitudes, and practices which occurred over 5 years (1964-69) of widespread public discussion concerning family planning and of program activity in Bogota, Colombia. Data from 2 surveys, 1 in 1964 and the other in 1969, permit the 1st temporal analysis of family planning adoption for a major metropolitan city in Latin America. Additional data on rural and small urban areas of Colombia from the 2nd survey permit a limited assessment of diffusion of family planning from the city to the nation as a whole. The 1st survey in Bogota revealed moderate to high levels of knowledge of contraceptive methods and generally favorable attitudes to birth limitation. However, at this time many women had never spoken to their husbands about the number of children they wanted, nor tried a contraceptive method at any time. The 2nd survey showed substantial changes in this picture. The proportion of currently mated women who had spoken to their husbands about family size preference changed from 43 to 62% for an increase of 71%. Fertility fell appreciably over this period, especially among younger women. Family planning program services had a significant direct contribution to the adoption process, since 36% of mated women had been to a clinic by 1969. The most modern methods of birth control -- the anovulatory pill and the intrauterine device -- which were scarcely known in 1964 were widely known in 1969, and contributed most to the observed increase in current contraceptive practice. However, among the previously known methods, the simplest method of all, withdrawal (coitus interruptus), showed the greatest increase in current practice and remained the most commonly used method. These findings suggest that favorable attitudes and knowledge tend to become rather widespread before levels of husband-wife discussion of family size preferences and levels of contraceptive trial increase appreciably. The results also indicate that contraceptive knowledge and favorable family planning attitudes are spreading rapidly outward from the cities into the rural areas, but that contraceptive practice is still predominantly restricted to urban populations. (author's)
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.
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.
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.
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.
London, England, Population Concern, 1984 May. 64 p.This publication highlights some of the major popular misconceptions of population. It is divided into 5 sections: 1) population growth; 2) United Kingdom 3) food; 4) family size; and 5) planned parenthood. Misconceptions of population growth include lack of concern about birth rates, and poverty. It is unreasonable to assume that social and economic development will automatically curb the high levels of population growth in less-developed countries. Population policy should be formulated and implemented as an integral part of socioeconomic planning. In discussing Britain's population misconceptions, chart is used to show the ratio of numbers of children and old people to the working age population. Population matters in Britain are often presented as if population and the national economy were Siamese twins. There is anxiety that if the population stops growing the nation will somehow stagnate. Charts present total food production in the UK and imports and exports. Food concerns include hunger and an unequal distribution of food. World food production is presented along with food losses, and available food divided by the population. Total food production figures are given for the US and Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Africa, Latin America, the Near East, Far East, Asian centrally planned economics, USSR and Eastern Europe, less-developed countries, and more-developed countries. Concerns about family size include the relationship of poverty to large families, child labor, effects of family composition on reproductive behavior, and infant mortality. Many people believe that reduction of infant mortality automatically leads to reduction in family size. Certain groups feel that women do not want fertility control programs, and that unsafe methods of contraception are being pushed at them--chiefly by men. The monograph includes many photographs.
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.
[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)
In: Hsia YE, Hirschhorn K, et. al., ed. Counseling in genetics. New York, Alan R. Liss, 1979. 189-222.American contraceptive patterns have shown consistent acceptance and progressive improvement in its usage. Efficacious methods which offer maximum contraceptive protection are highly favored by all strata of the American population. The 4 methods which the writer examines from a clinical and psychological viewpoint are sterilization, artificial insemination, abortion and selective sex predetermination processes. The increased popularity of sterilization by males and females is accounted for by its development into a simpler surgical procedure, few unpleasant side effects, shifts in smaller family size planning, and easing of medical and legal age restrictions. Vasectomy and tubal ligation are reviewed in terms of positive and negative reactions to the procedures with particular emphasis about psychological adjustment common to both procedures. Artificial insemination with a donor's semen is used primarily when the husband is infertile or when the husband or both parents are carriers of genetic defects. This method is preferred when parents are dissatisfied with adoption procedures, selection process in terms of infant conception is desired, knowledge of pregnancy 1st hand is wanted and when faith in the donor is strong. Abortion and prenatal diagnosis are seen as means of selective reproduction and biological control in family planning decisions. Legal change about abortion has accompanied a decline of public opposition as seen in tables which chart America's public opinion from 1962 to 1975. Psychological aspects of selecting abortion and prenatal diagnosis include the concern parents have over health of the child, security of the family , fairness to the unborn child, to the living children and to themselves. The writer establishes the need for counseling and emotional support when stress, depression and self doubts associated with each procedure is apparent. Technology involved in sex determination is seen by the author as having a future radical impact on sex ratios of developing nations where a greater cultural emphasis is on having sons. From a psychological point of view, sex determination will alleviate the disappointment some parents feel about the sex of the child as well as encourage fertility.
Trends and patterns in the attitudes of the public toward legal abortion in the United States, 1972-1978.
Research in Nursing and Health. 1985 Sep; 8(3):219-225.The attitudes of the public toward legal abortion in the US were studied for the period 1972-78. Purposes of the study were to: 1) analyze the trends and patterns in attitudes toward legal abortion in that period; 2) assess the possible effect of selected demographic, socioeconomic, religious, and fertility variables on attitudes towards legal abortion; and 3) determine the relationship between attitudes toward abortion and attitudes toward selected related issues such as premarital sex, sex education in public schools, birth control for teens and for anyone who desires it, and woman's role in the home, business, and politics. The independent variables found to have an effect on attitude toward abortion were: age, sex, marital status, geographic region, size of place, education, occupational prestige, women's employment status, religious preference, denomination, strength of religious preference, frequence of attendance at religious services, number of siblings, number of children, number of children expected in the future, and ideal family size. The data were drawn from the General Social Surveys (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center each year between 1972-78. A total of 10,652 respondents completed the interviews. Attitudes toward abortion were derived from combining the responses to 6 items which required the respondents to indicate whether or not it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion. Using the Guttman scalogram analysis, responses to the abortion items were tested for scalability and were found to scale well. The single largest group of respondents approved for legal abortion for all of the 6 reasons mentioned and the next largest group approved it only for the hard reasons (woman's health, rape, and possible child deformity). Trends in attitudes toward legal abortion were analyzed by percentage distribution. 2 major shifts in trend were noted in the attitudes of the public toward legal abortion in the abovementioned period. In 1973, the percentage of approval rose considerably for each of the 6 reasons. In 1978, the 2nd shift occurred when the percentage of approval declined sharply for all but the reasons of woman's health and rape. Both shifts followed important judicial and congressional decisions made in the US with respect to the abortion issue. Generally speaking, younger, white, never-married respondents, and those who lived in the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic, and New England regions, and in the large central cities were slightly more favorable toward abortion than were their counterparts. Education proved to be the most important socioeconomic variable in explaining the variability of attitude toward abortion. Jews showed the most favorable attitude and Catholics the least favorable attitudes toward abortion. Those who came from small families, or who had small families themselves, or who favored small family size ideal were more favorable toward abortion than those connected to larger families. Significant positive associations were found between attitudes toward premarital sex, sex education in public schools, availability of birth control information for teens, woman's role in the home, business, and politics, and attitudes toward abortion. Variability in attitudes toward abortion among white adults in the US between 1972-78 was best explained by the frequency of attendance at religious services combined with the variables of education, family size ideal, attitude toward available of birth control information to teens, attitude toward sex education in public schools, and attitude toward women's role in the home, business, and politics. (author's modified)
[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.
Studies in Family Planning. 1970 Mar; 1(51):10-17.The success of efforts to deal with the problem of world population growth will depend heavily on the extent to which national populations and their leaders are convinced of the seriousness of the problem. The concept of "opinion" on any public issue may conveniently be classified as public or private opinion, and again according to whether it refers to the opinion of elites or of the general population. Characteristics sources of data for the resulting four types are as follows: (1) Newspapers Books (Public-Elites); (2) "Inquiring Photographer" type interview (Public-General Population); (3) Unstructured interview (Private-Elites); and (4) Poll type interview (Private-General Population). It is usually assumed that the "private, anonymous, and confidential" interview provides us with the most "valid" data, or at least the data best predictive of behavior. There is little reason to assume either. Certainly the public opinion of politicians or of other public figures is more predictive of their behavior than their private opinions, just as the articulations of an Indian woman in the presence of her in-laws might be a better predictor of her fertility than her more "honest" private thoughts articulated to a stranger with a notebook. Unfortunately, opinion data in the population sphere are heavily concentrated in category four (poll type surveys of the general population) and rarest of all in category two, public interviews with the general population (e.g., "man-on-the-street," television, or radio interviews in which the respondent is aware that his comments are being broadcast). For this reason, the present paper will deal only with categories one, three, and four, insofar as they relate to opinions on population size and growth on the one hand, and to opinions on birth control and family planning on the other. (excerpt)
London, International Planned Parenthood Federation, March 1973. Family Planning Reviews. No. 1. 40 pThe 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.
Science. May 18, 1973; 180(4087):708-712.Between January 1969 and August 1972, 4 national Gallup surveys were conducted among white men and women of voting age, as a part of a project to collect and analyze public attitudes on population issues. Public support for educational efforts in high school has been relatively high among men over the entire time period, but during the past 2 years feminine assent has been increasing with 71% of each sex by August 1972 favoring birth control education in public high schools. The least approval came from less advantaged groups but the differential by educational level in 1972 compared to 1969 has become a minor instead of a major cleavage. Approval for making birth control services available to teenage girls was found in slightly more than 1/2 of the population. Among men approval increased 25% between 1969 and 1972; among women 77%. Among groups where the young are most in need of free birth control services, such as the less advantaged, approval though increasing, is still low. In August 1972 less than 1/3 of white adult Americans regarded premarital relations as permissable. 65% of men and 42% of women under age 30 were permissive toward premarital relations, as contrasted to 21% of men and 12% of women aged 45 or over. In effect the increase in approval of birth control services seems more to reflect a rise in permissiveness than pragmatism. There were no significant differences between Catholics and non-Catholics in any area of these surveys.
Family Planning Perspectives. October 1972; 4(4):44-55.During the years from 1965 to 1970, American attitudes shifted toward support of voluntary fertility control with many more people supporting elective abortion and contraception. Gallup polls taken in 1972, based on 1574 respondents, showed that 64% of whites and 51% of blacks agreed: "abortion should be a decision between a woman and her doctor." 3 out of 4 Americans agreed that birth control services (counseling, information, supplies) should be provided for sexually active teenagers. Highest support for both birth control and abortion came from better educated, more affluent Westerners. Causes of these attitude changes may be traced to factors such as availability of effective contraceptives, alternate roles for women, and liberalization of restrictive laws concerning abortion, contraception, and sterilization.
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Toronto, Canada, April 13-15, 1972. 19 pThe Gilbert Youth Poll conducted a nationwide survey of 2541 young people between the ages of 14 and 24 in the spring of 1971 for the Research Department of Planned Parenthood World Federation. Of this group 834 were high school students, 948 were college students, and 759 were young people who were not in school. Most of the latter group were older than the high school students and 46% of them have been to college. The findings indicate that 3/4 of this sample approve of making birth control available to any teen-ager wanting this service. Neither sex, race, nor religion affected this attitude. 76% of the white and 58% of the black respondents recommended that couples get professional birth control counseling upon marrying. Most of the respondents plan to marry in their 20s and do not want children during the 1st year of marriage. Variations in these findings did occur among certain subgroups. For example, high school students are less likely to recommend early professional birth control counseling and more likely to approve a child within the 1st year of marriage. About 1/2 the respondents wanted only 2 children while another 1/4 preferred 2 or 3 children. 9 out of 10 indicated the oral contraceptive as an effective birth control method and about 1/2 mentioned the IUD. 11% specified tubal ligation or vasectomy and another 5% stated general sterilization without mention of procedure. Approximately 1/4 noted Planned Parenthood clinics as a place teen-agers could go for birth control services and another 1/5 indicated "family planning clinics." Although population growth in the U.S. was given recognition as a potential problem, it was not regarded as one which required immediate attention. 3 out of 5 expressed some concern over the effect of population growth on their lives, but only a small proportion thought the effect would be serious. Concerning their reasons for family planning, this sample attributed greater importance to child care and economic situation than to social issues such as population.
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.
Urban Indian attitudinal response and behavior related to family planning: possible implications for the mass communication program.
Journal of Family Welfare. 1968; 14:31-38.In 1967 the Indian Institute of Public Opinion conducted a survey of 837 males and 163 females in 11 urban areas obtaining attitudes towards family planning and personal and national concerns. All in the sample were literate, with 72% having completed secondary school. 94% had heard of family planning and believed it was necessary for India. 58% know the location of a family planning clinic. Of those with 2 children, 94% said they did not want any more while 53% reported ever having practiced family planning. The average number of desired children was 2.9. The survey indicated that the family planning program has been successful in communicating awareness of family planning but that there needs to be greater emphasis on the communication of the relationship of controlling family size to individual and national fears regarding well-being, and for creating an awareness of the importance of reducting the family size norm to 2 children regardless of sex.