Margaret Sanger, "Birth Control, 1949," 1950.

Source: " Britannica Book of the Year (1950), p. 113."

For other articles in the Britannica Book of the Year series, see Birth Control, 1941 ; Birth Control, 1942 ; Birth Control, 1943 ; Birth Control, 1944 ; Birth Control, 1945 ; Birth Control, 1946 ; Birth Control, 1947 ; Birth Control, 1948 ; Birth Control, 1950 ; Birth Control, 1951 ; Birth Control, 1952 ; Birth Control, 1953 ; Birth Control, 1954 ; Birth Control, 1955 ; Birth Control, 1956 ; Birth Control, 1957 ; Birth Control, 1958

Birth Control.

At a national conference in New York sponsored by the National Research council’s Committee on Human Reproduction, two major problems were considered: (1) the urgent need to develop through research a simple, inexpensive and universally acceptable contraceptive and (2) the equally urgent need to build world-wide public acceptance of the necessity for family limitation and for use of contraceptive measures to reach this objective. Scientists themselves needed to be alerted to the need for research in the field of human reproduction; few of them in 1949 were qualified to carry on such research. The conference also discussed the problems of infertility; increased knowledge in this area might lead to discovery of new factors involved in fertility control.

Birth control was officially adopted by Japan during the year. The new law was passed unanimously in the house of representatives and backed by a large house of councillors majority. According to a statement issued by the Japanese Welfare ministry “an overwhelming majority of the Japanese people favour birth control as a solution of health and population.”

The first meeting of the committee established by the 1948 International Congress on Population and World Resources in Relation to the Family was held in London. It was attended by delegates from the Planned Parenthood organizations from the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands. They adopted as their name the International Committee on Planned Parenthood.


The fifth annual Albert D. and Mary Lasker Foundation Awards in Planned Parenthood went to George M. Cooper, head of the Division of Preventative Medicine, North Carolina State Board of Health, and to Carl G. Hartman, zoologist formerly with The Johns Hopkins Medical school. Cooper was honoured for his leadership in establishing birth control in 1937 in the public health service of North Carolina, the first state to give this service through its public health departments. By 1949 the example had been followed by six other states. Hartman received his award for scientific research in the physiology and time of ovulation in women and the survival time of egg and sperm which brought nearer the solution of basic problems in the field of fertility and infertility.

U.S. Goals.–

The Planned Parenthood federation’s annual meeting devoted a major part of its discussion to program goals. The membership expressed its aim “to further universal acceptance of family planning as an essential element of responsible parenthood and stable family life,” this program to be accomplished through three main lines of activity–service, education and research. The inclusion of birth control services in public health clinics, hospitals and as an integral part of national health planning was considered a service goal with continued maintenance of the federation’s own services until availability of complete coverage for U.S. families. The provision of general and professional education by the federation was recognized as the method for achieving this end.

The Planned Parenthood federation was in 1949 the national agency and clearinghouse for 15 state leagues and 131 local committees. Birth control clinics numbered 537. These services were in 229 public health departments, 48 hospitals, 227 extramural clinics and there were 33 referral services. Of the 92 infertility clinics reported to the federation, 25 were under Planned Parenthood auspices.


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