Birth Control

American Medical Association (birth control)

Though much of the contraceptive information of the past is known through medical writings, in the United States organized medicine, for the last part of the nineteenth century and first part of the twentieth, was among the major opponents of the dissemination of contraceptive information. In part, this was because American medicine in the nineteenth […]

Apothecaries, Abortifacients, Contraceptives, and Patent Medicines (birth control)

As indicated in the entry on herbal contraceptives and abortifacients, many plants and other items were believed to have contraceptive and abortifacient value. Much of this information was oral tradition, although some crept into the medical writings. People in the Middle Ages studied plants for medicinal purposes and “wise” women or midwives often kept alive […]

Anemia, Diet, and Pregnancy (birth control)

In the Middle Ages, although there seems to have been a slight numerical predominance of males over females at birth, the sex ratios increased in adulthood and, as David Herlihy said, there “was a spirited competition for scarce women.” Several factors have been suggested to explain this shortage of females, including widespread female infanticide, abandonment, […]

Barrier Contraceptives (birth control)

Barrier contraceptives for women involve placing some kind of obstacle in the vagina to prevent the passage of sperm into the uterus. Perhaps because long before recorded history there was recognition that the seed the man planted needed to reach the uterus, barrier methods of pregnancy prevention are not only a modern but also a […]

Augustine, Saint (d. 430) (birth control)

Saint Augustine was the most influential early Christian writer on contraception, abortion, and sex in general. His writings have proved to be a dominant influence on Western attitudes. Born in North Africa of a pagan father and Christian mother (Saint Monica), Augustine received a Christian education and went on to advanced studies in Carthage, where […]

Besant,Annie (1847-1933) (birth control)

Annie Besant, born Annie Wood, was one of the first women, if not the first, to be publicly involved in the public dissemination of information about birth control. Born in London, she was very well educated by her teacher, Ellen Marryat, the sister of a well-known novelist, who wanted her pupils to think for themselves. […]

Birth Control

The term birth control was popularized by Margaret Sanger. There are two different versions of how the term came to be used. In one version, Sanger tells how a few friends and supporters of the Woman Rebel, her radical monthly publication, gathered together in her apartment one evening to select a distinctive name. In this […]

Birth Control Review

Margaret Sanger founded Birth Control Review, a monthly journal, in 1917, and it was regarded by her as the first step in establishing a national organization. A group of women led by Juliet Rublee and Frances Ackermann organized the New York Women’s Publishing Company to support the Review. Its financial deficits were covered by special […]

Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau

The Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, founded in 1923, was the first legal U.S. birth control clinic and an influential model for the spread of clinics in the United States. It was founded by Margaret Sanger and was called the Clinical Research Bureau (CRB) to meet the requirements of a New York State law that […]

Bradlaugh-Besant Trial (birth control)

A turning point in the movement for the dissemination of information about contraceptives was the Bradlaugh-Besant trial in 1877 involving Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant.The publicity surrounding the trial radically increased the demand for information about contraception and spurred people to be interested. Norman Himes, in his standard history of contraception, labeled his topic on […]