Birth Control History

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Women have utilized their agency in a number of critical ways to further advance their right to birth control and fight for equality among the genders. At the turn of the Twentieth Century, all forms of birth control, and information about birth control devices and procedures were prohibited by the United States government. These laws primarily impacted women, as the vast majority of outlawed items targeted the reproductive health of females. Through the process of education, a large social movement, and numerous legal battles, the status of birth control in the present time has transformed significantly. The law served to validate women’s rights, as exemplified by the Twentieth Century Birth Control Movement, which has brought about numerous…show more content…
Many women agreed that they should possess the right to determine whether or not to become a mother, and that society should not impose their standards on anyone. There was also a great amount of concern for the future of the human race. This ideology, known as eugenics, was defined in a 1917 article in the Birth Control Review as “[measures that] favour the reproductivity of the happier and more efficient parts of the population and discourage the increase of the less capable parts.” In other words, eugenics is the selective breeding of the human race to advance the quality of its genetics. But as the end of the Nineteenth Century drew near, a new wave of social purity swept the nation. There was a resurgence among religious conservatives to enact legislation that would reinforce moral standards according to radicals of the Christian faith. The movement was “motivated by growing societal concerns over obscenity, abortion, pre-marital and extra-marital sex, the institution of marriage, the changing role of women in society, and increased procreation by the lower classes.” Anthony Comstock, the United States Postal Inspector of the time, created the Act for the "Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles…show more content…
The Tariff Act of 1930 had included provisions that matched those against contraception in the Comstock Law of 1872, and the device was therefore confiscated. The case, United States v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries, thrust Sanger back into the spotlight. She won the case in the lower courts, and won once again in the appeal at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judge Augustus Noble Hand issued a game-changing decision, which stated "we are satisfied that this statute, as well as all the acts we have referred to, embraced only such articles as Congress would have denounced as immoral if it had understood all the conditions under which they were to be used. Its design, in our opinion, was not to prevent the importation, sale, or carriage by mail of things which might intelligently be employed by conscientious and competent physicians for the purpose of saving life or promoting the wellbeing of their patients." As a result of her success in the courts, the American Medical Association chose to include contraception as a legitimate medical practice to be taught in all medical school curricula. Slowly but surely, birth control was gaining recognition within the greater medical community. Now that all medical students would be educated on the specifics of birth control, the knowledge of its benefits would penetrate the general population through their
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