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By Peter C. Engelman

A heritage of the contraception circulation in the United States tells the extreme tale of a gaggle of reformers devoted to making birth control criminal, obtainable, and applicable. The engrossing story information how Margaret Sanger's crusade starting in 1914 to problem anti-obscenity legislation criminalizing the distribution of contraceptive info grew into the most far-reaching social reform activities in American background. The booklet opens with a dialogue of the heritage of contraception tools and the criminalization of birth control and abortion within the nineteenth century. Its center, although, is an exhilarating narrative of the crusade within the twentieth century, vividly recalling the arrests and indictments, banned guides, imprisonments, confiscations, health facility raids, mass conferences, and court docket dramas that publicized the reason around the state. recognition is paid to the movement's thorny alliances with medication and eugenics and particularly to its luck in precipitating a profound shift in sexual attitudes that became using birth control into a suitable social and scientific perform. ultimately, the contraception circulate is associated with court-won privateness protections and the present-day move for reproductive rights.

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Additional info for A History of the Birth Control Movement in America (Healing Society: Disease, Medicine, and History)

Example text

He was the first, but by no means the last, birth controller to go to prison. No rabble-rouser, Knowlton quietly served his sentence before returning to his respectable medical practice in the small farming town of Ashfield, Massachusetts. Although he has been called “the founder of American contraceptive medicine”—and the popularity of contraceptive douching through the 19th and into the 20th century can be directly linked to his multiple editions of Fruits—Knowlton had no interest in becoming a crusader.

It also inspired Dr. 10 An ambitious country doctor in western Massachusetts, Knowlton was inspired by Owen’s social reasoning. And, like Owen, his work was shaped by Francis Place, the English social reformer whose Principles of Population (1822) and series of handbills distributed among the English working class promoted withdrawal, as well as the vaginal sponge and plug. Knowlton largely rejected these methods and instructed his married women readers to douche, “syringing the vagina, soon after the male emission into it, with some liquid, which will not merely dislodge nearly all the semen, Before “Birth Control” 7 as simple water would do .

Anthony Comstock (1844–1915) manifested the moral reform movement’s most extreme inclinations to censor and suppress. Not unlike Senator Joseph McCarthy’s * Prohibitions specified in the act were also codified in sections 245 and 312 of the Criminal Code and Section 305 of the Tariff Law. 16 A History of the Birth Control Movement in America excessive and reckless campaign to ferret out Communists in the 1950s, Comstock took it on himself to identify purveyors of sin, confiscate the goods, and intimidate or arrest the violators.

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