Birth Control and Public Policy
Until recently, the birth control movement was a ladies’ volunteer affair, publicly regarded as either inconsequential or embarrassing. At the same time, Americans were privately exhibiting a remarkable consensus of opinion on the subject of birth control, and acting accordingly. In 1943 a Fortune poll found 85 per cent of American women saying that birth control should be available to all married women. The results of a sociological study just released by the University of Michigan and the Scripps Foundation show that, in 1955, 94 per cent of all white couples in America in the reproductive ages were either trying or intending to regulate conception, or they were not sufficiently fertile to require such regulation. In practice birth control-for the healthful spacing of children as well as for limiting the size of families-is securely woven into the fabric of American life, but public silence and special-interest pressures have prevented the wide recognition of this fact.
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