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Who Chooses?American Reproductive History since 1830$
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Simone M. Caron

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813031996

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813031996.001.0001

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(p.251) 9 Conclusion
Who Chooses?

Simone M. Caron

University Press of Florida

This chapter begins with a review of reproductive policies since the nineteenth century. It then argues that the twenty-first century has witnessed a new tactic in the efforts to control women's fertility. All methods of contraception, except sterilization, have come under attack by some groups. The American Life League, for instance, has argued that contraceptives are equivalent to abortion and has organized efforts to sway public opinion to ban them. Conservative pharmacists have joined the fray, refusing to sell contraceptives. The morning-after pill, approved by Canada for over-the-counter sales in April 2005, continues to face barriers from the FDA. While the FDA scientific advisory board recommended it for over-the-counter sales in the United States, FDA director Lester Crawford blocked this change. The purpose of this new campaign to eliminate contraceptives is twofold: first, it seeks to control women using moral and religious arguments in ways similar to those of the oft-criticized fundamentalists in other countries; second, it seeks to control the composition of the population. In the midst of this battle no criticism of sterilization can be heard. It continues to be funded by state and federal governments. With both abortion and birth control under attack, indigent and low-income women will have little recourse for reproductive control other than to resort to sterilization. This tactic is the last step in population controllers' attempts to shape the citizenry to suit the agenda of white elites, allowing them to choose who is fit for motherhood.

Keywords:   reproductive policy, contraception, abortion, fertility, sterilization, population control

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