Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The history of the Social Problem - Birth Control

Birth Control has had many developments in society, but there is a long history of different types of birth control. We will take a look back and see what common forms of birth control were used previous to our current society.

In 200 A.D. Greek gynochologist Soranus said women were fertile during ovulation but thought ovulation occuured during menstruation. She suggested:

---Smearing olive oil, pomegrante pulp, ginger or tobacco juice around the vagina to kill the sperm.

---Drinking water that the blacksmiths used to cool hot metals.

---Jumping backward 7 times after intercourse to dislodge sperm.

In the early 20th century common birth control methods included:

  • Coitus Interruptus (withdrawing before ejaculation)

  • Condoms (including one that resembled a small cap made of rubber developed by Charles Goodyear.

  • The rhythm method.

  • Early versions of the diaphragm made from gut (1920's) or polyethylene (1960's).

  • Extended lactation.

  • Abstinence

  • Abortion

  • Surgical Sterilization

During the first half of the 20th century, contraceptives were not widely available to women. The Comstock Law of 1873 outlawed the distribution of information about birth control. The Comstock Law was particularly hard on poor women who had no means of obtaining medical advice or treatments from physicians.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Margaret Sanger challenged The Comstock Law by disseminating birth control information and supplies. She wanted to make sure that women could get individual care and guard against misinformation.

In 1936, Samger and the National Committee for Federal Legislation on Birth Control won a judicial decision, United States vs. One Package. It exempted physicians from The Comstock Law restrictions on the disseminating of information on contraception.

By the 1960s, the birth control pill had been introduced.

In 1965, a Supreme Court Decision (Griswold vs. Connecticut) legalized birth control for married couples.

In 1967, family planning was included among the services provided to women receiving public assistance, allowing for women to space their children enabling them to take different jobs, opportunities, or educational opportunities.

In 1970, Title X of the Public Health Service Act authorized public funding for family planning services. By the century's end, the public remained divided over how much government funding should be involved in the funding of family planning services. This was fueled over the debate about abortion. At the end of th century, 1 and 5 women still depended on publicly funded sources for contraceptives and family planning.

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