Margaret Sanger, "Birth Control, 1954," 1955.

Published Article. Source: Britannica Book of the Year,(1955) 165-166 .

For other articles in the Britannica Book of the Year series, see Birth Control, 1944; Birth Control, 1946; Birth Control, 1947; Birth Control, 1948, 1949;Birth Control, 1949; Birth Control, 1950; Birth Control, 1951; Birth Control, 1952; Birth Control, 1953; Birth Control, 1955; Birth Control, 1956; Birth Control, 1957; Birth Control, 1958For a typed draft of the article, see MSM S72:903.


Birth Control.

Events converged to make fertility control programs increasingly needed and wanted in many parts of the world in 1954. A major cause was the continued disbalance between available resources and population growth, particularly in underdeveloped countries. This was underlined by an exhaustive UN study, “The Determinants and Consequences of Populations Trends” (May 1954) that predicted world numbers would rise from 3,000,000,000 to 4,000,000,000 within 30 years, with little promise of a corresponding increase in the production of basic resources.

International.–

Growing government interest in Japan in expanding national family planning efforts was evidenced by an invitation extended Margaret Sanger, president, International Planned Parenthood Federation, to testify before the Japanese diet’s upper house welfare committee (April 1954). The first foreign woman to appear before this body, the birth control pioneer’s guidance was enlisted on methods of accelerating the government program. Mrs. Sanger was also keynote speaker at the first national meeting of the Japan Federation of Family Planning.

Priority to India’s overpopulation problem was given in that government’s census report (Nov. 1953). The census commissioner warned against a population of 520,000,000 by 1981; presented a study of all available methods of conception control; and urged that Indian parents voluntarily limit their families to three children in order to achieve a stationary population of 450,000,000 in 1969.

The year 1954 marked the first World Population conference of experts under UN auspices. Instigated by the Economic and Social council of the UN, it took place at the Food and Agriculture organization headquarters, Rome, It., Aug. 31-Sept. 10, with a number of other leading international agencies collaborating. The conference had the co-operation of the Italian government, which also helped to finance the meeting. It was attended by experts nominated by governments, nongovernmental scientific organizations, interested specialized agencies and experts with scientific interest in population problems. The International Planned Parenthood federation was represented by two official observers invited by the UN, with ten of its leaders participating in the conference.

In an effort to facilitate the use of birth control among peasant populations, a number of field tests in simple, low cost contraceptives were begun among villagers in India, Ceylon and Pakistan by Clarence J. Gamble, U.S. medical authority in conception control.

The Family Planning Association of Puerto Rico was established (March 1954) and launched a three-year campaign which included scientific studies in birth control, and a pilot project of mass education to increase public interest and draw patients to the existing 160 public health sponsored birth control clinics.

U.S. visits of two outstanding Planned Parenthood leaders were sponsored by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. They were Lady Rama Rau of India, chairman, International Planned Parenthood federation, whose coast-to-coast lecture tour on “India’s Social Revolution” served to broaden public understanding of family planning needs in an underdeveloped nation, and >Elise Ottesen-Jensen, Swedish birth control and sex education pioneer. Mrs. Ottensen-Jensen was the recipient of the 1954 Lasker foundation award in Planned Parenthood, presented for “setting Sweden’s family planning movement in the forefront of Europe and the world.”

A colloquium on the social aspects of family planning and fertility control held at Columbia university’s Arden house (1954) brought together for the first time experts in sociology, religion, psychiatry, law, anthropology, gynaecology, public health and demography, to assist the federation assess and investigate attitudes toward the practice of fertility control and its effect on other social and cultural problems.

U.S. Services.–

During 1954, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America was the national clearing house for 12 state leagues and 101 local committees, in 29 states. Birth control clinics numbered 532. These services were in 279 public health clinics, 74 hospitals and in 182 extramural clinics, sponsored by Planned Parenthood committees. Infertility referral services numbered 65. The seven states which included birth control in their public health department services were Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

(M.SR.)


Subject Terms:

Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project


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