By Aharon W. Zorea
For many of the nineteenth century, contraception used to be now not thought of a wellbeing and fitness or scientific factor; all prohibitions and prosecutions concerning contraception have been applied lower than obscenity legislation. One such legislation, the Comstock Act of 1873, banned the distribution of contraceptives in addition to information regarding contraceptives. good over a hundred years later, contraception continues to be a hugely delicate topic.
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Extra resources for Birth Control
The public sensitivity to indecency was particularly high during the time of the temperance and purity movements of 1870s, and the Comstock Law lent itself to very broad interpretations. S. Post Office, authorized to inspect packages and prosecute those who sent “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” materials through the mail. Neither Congress nor Comstock could specifically quantify the definition of obscenity, so their decisions invited some controversy when literary figures such as D. H. Lawrence, Theodore Dreiser, and George Bernard Shaw were barred from publishing their materials because the subject matter was deemed offensive.
In the United States, Knowlton and other “freethinkers” translated Malthus’s theories into a political ideology. A series of birth control manuals came out in the decades that followed, and almost all of them point first to Malthus and the dangers of overpopulation. It is unlikely that Malthus would have found much sympathy with most of those later authors. For more information on this subject, check out selections from Knowlton and E. B. Foote in Section III. HISTORY OF BIRTH CONTROL 33 After the 1860s, there was a shift in tone used in the science-based birth control manuals.
By contrast to Malthus, both Carlile and Knowlton were avowed atheists. Although Knowlton strongly endorsed Malthus’s theory of pending overpopulation, he objected to religious-based solutions and advocated more proactive—even radical—proposals for dealing with it. In the United States, Knowlton and other “freethinkers” translated Malthus’s theories into a political ideology. A series of birth control manuals came out in the decades that followed, and almost all of them point first to Malthus and the dangers of overpopulation.