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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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World War II, the Baby Boom, and the Population Explosion, 1939–1963

World War II, the Baby Boom, and the Population Explosion, 1939–1963

(p.119) 5 World War II, the Baby Boom, and the Population Explosion, 1939–1963
Who Chooses?

Simone M. Caron

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses changes in reproductive health from 1939 to 1963. The war years witnessed government endorsement of condoms and industrial support for contraceptives for women war workers. Abortion, while illegal unless the woman's life was at stake, covertly continued with little state interference. The postwar period experienced a crackdown that posed barriers to abortion, but it did not decrease: desperate women continued to resort to “back alley,” overseas, or self-induced abortions. Because this issue divided the medical profession, some women were able to seek care from what Joffe calls “physicians of conscience.” While the baby boom mentality permeated popular culture, many women postponed or limited their childbearing, taking advantage of local birth control clinics and abortion to achieve their goal.

Keywords:   reproductive health, postwar period, abortion, contraception, birth control

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