Contraception And Abortion In 19th Century America, By Janet Farrell Brodie

1256 words - 5 pages

The topics of contraception and abortion have been looked upon differently throughout years past in America. The ideas regarding these topics have changed from being nonexistent to being extremely common in today’s world. In the book, Contraception and Abortion in 19th-Century America, written by Janet Farrell Brodie there are descriptions and sources that state how and why people of the nineteenth century used contraception and dealt with abortion. By reading this book, a person can analyze what practices were used for contraception and abortion, whom the chief advocates of reproductive control in the mid-century were, along with the changing access to fertility control at the end of the century.
Throughout the book, specifically in Chapter Four, it is stated that sexual intercourse and contraception became more open topics, rather than keeping them private. If one method of contraception or abortion worked for one woman, the practice would be spread throughout the community to help others. This technique was similar to Darwin’s “Natural Selection,” rather than survival of the fittest, or “best,” method. People would hear about what types of contraception were available because of the present declining birth rate in the community. Although there were ads about contraception, women seemed to be a low priority audience for the press even though the topic of contraception was a very sought after one in nineteenth century society. Sexual intercourse has always occurred in the world, and so themes and different practices of possible contraception techniques have been ever-present, but not all opinions were true. Contraception decreased the amount of abortion that were done even though there were not very many abortions done. Every now and then, there was a case where a woman would cleanse herself with very strong chemicals to wipe out any fertilized egg in her uterus. This method was extremely harmful to the body so it was not done very often.
During the nineteenth century, there were many ways of contraception practiced. At that time, unlike present day, there were not any science-regulated pills being made for birth control and condoms were being mass-produced but had “visible flaws.” There were also condoms being produced that were only caps, rather than for the whole covering of the male. This “condom cap” made sex more pleasurable than using a full-cover condom (delete on). There were several contraception methods which were being used besides abstinence. One of these was douching, which was technically supposed to clean the uterus of any semen or potentially fertilized eggs. Another was using the rhythm technique, which was only having sexual intercourse at the “infertile” time of the woman’s menstrual cycle, which was practiced by Mary Poor and her husband. In this instance, Mary Poor kept a diary. In the diary, she would mark a day with an “X,” meaning that she had had sexual intercourse with her husband that day. The couple tried the...

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