Margaret Sanger, "Birth Control, 1956," 1957.

Source: " Britannica Book of the Year (1957), pp. 163-64."

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, 1949 ; Birth Control, 1950 ; Birth Control, 1951 ; Birth Control, 1952 ; Birth Control, 1953 ; Birth Control, 1954 ; Birth Control, 1955 ; Birth Control, 1957 ; Birth Control, 1958


Birth Control.

A considerable increase in the number of government grants to support and encourage the spread of family planning programs in underdeveloped countries was noted during 1956. In India, a program for intensive expansion of family planning services, especially in rural areas, was drawn up by the government for inclusion in its second five-year plan. The program called for an expenditure of $6,300,000 to establish 1,100 health centers providing children welfare and maternity services as well as family planning.

The first elected (1955) representative government of Singapore granted $28,335 to the Family Planning association of Singapore, which operated 14 clinics whose total attendance numbered 10,168. A government grant totaling $10,000 was made to the Family Planning Association of Hong Kongfor assistance in operating a new central clinic and headquarters which were being built by the association. The Hong Kong family Planning association sponsored nine clinics, serving a total of more than 15,492 women. Under government auspices, an organized campaign for birth control was launched in Egypt, aimed at curbing the country’s rapidly rising population. The Population Commission’s medical committee was charged with opening 12 family planning clinics. Eight clinics opened during 1956.

The government of Japan, which adopted a national family planning program in 1951, allotted nearly $90,000 in 1956 to teach birth control methods and supply free contraceptives to the indigent; 783 nationally administered health centers gave wide publicity to family planning, and more than 28,600 persons, mostly midwives, took the concept control course offered by the prefectures.

Italy’s first consulting office for information on scientific contraceptive methods was opened in Rome under sponsorship of the Italian Association for Demographic Education. The first office of its kind to exist in Italy, the association waged a campaign to overcome religious and political prejudice against birth control, and to repeal Italy’s anti-birth control law, adopted by the government in 1930.

Official and unofficial reports were received during 1956 indicating the spread of birth control in the communist world. Hungary approved contraceptives as a means of fighting the country’s abortion menace early in the year. In Czechoslovakia, a treatise on birth control Anticonception and the Fight Against Abortion, was published by the state Health Publishing office.

In Communist China, where the net daily increase in population was 34,000, or more than a third of the entire world’s net daily increase, the government, in a sharp departure from communist policy, launched an all-out birth control program. Twenty-seven birth control information centers were opened in Peking, and it was reported that government newspapers were issuing detailed instructions on the use of contraceptives.

A world-wide essay contest to find a solution to the problem of overpopulation in underdeveloped countries was sponsored during 1956 by the International Institute for Social-Ecclesiastical Research in Geneva, an official Roman Catholic institution. The unprecedented contest offered a $5,000 prize for the best proposed solutions to the overpopulation problem, within the framework of Catholic principles. The contest prospectus recognized the difficulty of increasing food supplies and raising living standards fast enough to keep up with population growth.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation added three new countries to its membership rolls--Belgium, Denmark, and New Zealand--bringing the total membership to 18. Other member countries were: Australia, Ceylon, the German Federation Republic, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Sweden, Union of South Africa and the United States.

More than 850 persons attended the 36th annual meeting of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, held in New York City in May 1956. Annual Lasker Awards in Planned Parenthood were presented to Warren O. Nelson, medical director of the Population Council, and Robert C. Cook, editor of the Population Bulletin, for their contributions in the field of family planning. There were 110 state leagues and local committees in 29 states and the District of Columbia, including the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau in New York, affiliated with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.


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