Birth control also became a major theme in feminist politics; reproduction issues were cited as examples of women's powerlessness to exercise their rights.  In April 1930 the Birth Control Conference assembled 700 delegates and was successful in bringing birth control and abortion into the political sphere - three months later, HM Ministry of Health allowed local authorities to give birth control advice in welfare centres. , In contrast, the birth control movement advocated for contraception so as to permit sexual intercourse as desired without the risk of pregnancy. He described a number of pessaries, including elephant dung, cabbages and pitch, used alone or in combination. C. Boston: Bedford/St.  Riddle has further hypothesised that "these drugs were perfected over centuries in a female culture of which males—who were doing the writing—had only a partial and imperfect understanding" and it is this shared folk wisdom amongst women that explains the relatively static population size in the West before the 18th century, rather than the high rate of infant mortality. After the Civil War, the 2.75 million soldiers coming home from the war suffered from epidemic rates of alcoholism and opiate addiction. The madams were usually skilled in keeping their girls from getting pregnant. While the rhythm method was not yet understood, condoms and diaphragms made of vulcanized rubber were reliable and inexpensive.. A recent, well-studied example of governmental restriction of birth control in order to promote higher birth rates in Ceaușescu-era Romania. The Shoshone also used stoneseed and one-seed juniper berries. A history of birth control in the U.S., from condoms made from fish bladders thousands of years ago to court decisions that limit and expand who has access. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures. In the same century Sun Simiao documented the "thousand of gold contraceptive prescription" for women who no longer want to bear children. (See previous post, "Cocaine Candy in the Old West"). Stopes, who exchanged ideas with Sanger, wrote her book Married Love on birth control in 1918; - it was eventually published privately due to its controversial nature. Pertinent bits: 1844 Charles Goodyear patents vulcanization of rubber. (Top right) An 1836 pewter douching syringe.  Demographer Gigi Santow has also takes issue with the proposition, writing that it overemphasizes the role of herbs and stating that Riddle seeks "not so much to persuade as to convert. the cervix), a mixture of honey and sodium carbonate applied to the inside of the vagina, and a pessary made from crocodile dung. The first permanent birth control clinic was established in Britain in 1921 by the birth control campaigner Marie Stopes, in collaboration with the Malthusian League.  Although the clinic helped few patients in 1921 'the year was one of the most important in the whole history of birth control simply because of their very existence'.. Women were desperate to control the number of children they had and there was a voracious market for birth control methods. The 1800s saw one of the most important inventions in contraception: the rubber condom. In Eastern Europe and Russia, natality fell abruptly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.. Condoms used to be made out of animal skins or bladder or other natural material… 1K views The easy availability of birth control devices alarmed Anthony Comstock, a onetime salesman in New York City who believed that they assisted … It wasn’t until the mid- to late- 1800s that abortion laws were passed to ban the procedure. After 1870, it was illegal to send birth control or any information ABOUT birth control, through the US Mail. Birth control was technically illegal for married people until 1965, and remained illegal for singles all the way until 1972. , In medieval western Europe, any efforts to halt or prevent pregnancy were deemed immoral by the Catholic Church.  Several historians have taken issue with this hypothesis: Gary Ferngren has noted the circumstantial nature of Riddle's evidence and concluded that the ideas remained "unproved and unlikely," while Helen King has written that Riddle makes claims about modern pharmacology that are not supported by his source materials. Pregnancy prevention around the world has a lengthy history that includes many effective yet sometimes lethal methods of early contraception. This implement, however, could cause infection, sterility and death. (Second row, right) An early, 1880 precursor to the IUD (Intrauterine device).  He took a rational approach to this, rejecting the use of superstition and amulets and instead prescribing common-sense mechanical methods such as vaginal plugs and pessaries using wool as a base covered in oils or other gummy substances.  The surge in births resulting from Decree 770 led to great hardships for children and parents, matched by an increase in illegal abortions. 1798. (Imagine giving birth in a Conestoga wagon on the rutted and rocky Oregon Trail!). This reflected Catholic teachings on sexual morality. Mesopotamian women used "stones not to give birth", they used small circular stones that they put as deep as possible into their vagina. Emergency Contraception Emergency contraception (EC) is based on the same science as the pill and was first used to prevent pregnancy in … Alexandra Kollontai, USSR commissar for public welfare, promoted birth control education for adults. The many forms of birth control of the 1800s varied wildly in their ineffectiveness and many were deadly or left women damaged for life. About 1890.  These two clinics 'opened up a new period in the history of the movement aimed at the emancipation of women from their slavery to the reproductive function'. They were also used as a contraceptive. (Bottom two rows) "Female pills," "Mother's friend," "prevention powders," and "regulator tablets" were just a few cryptic names. By 1950, she and Katharine McCormick had contracted with biologist Gregory Pincus to develop an effective birth control pill. The first birth control clinic in the world was established in the Netherlands in 1882, run by the Netherlands' first female physician, Aletta Jacobs. , Medical abortion became an alternative to surgical abortion with the availability of prostaglandin analogs in the 1970s and the availability of mifepristone in the 1980s.. Most methods involved covering the “mouth of the womb” with some sort of sticky barrier to physically block any hopeful sperm. Sydney University press / page 77. No, Margaret Sanger did not invent any type of birth control. , In the Soviet Union birth control was made readily available to facilitate social equality between men and women.  Another early document explicitly referring to birth control methods is the Kahun Gynecological Papyrus from about 1850 BC.  That law, however, was annulled in 1967 by the Neuwirth Law, thus authorizing contraception, which was followed in 1975 with the Veil Law. The authors accused witches, among other things, of infanticide and having the power to steal men's penises. Advertisement One doctor, F. F. Jackson, writing to The Medical World (volume 15, 1897), lists other devices he has encountered in his practice, and his reasons for dismissing them. Lactation (breast-feeding) of up to three years was also used for birth control purposes in ancient Egypt. Its success was followed up with Wise Parenthood: a Book for Married People, a manual on birth control, published later that year. In the late 9th to early 10th century, the Persian physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi documented coitus interruptus, preventing ejaculation and the use of pessaries to block the cervix as birth control methods. Later in the same year, Stopes founded the Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress, a support organization for the clinic. These, of course, included the ancient methods of coitus …  The Malleus Maleficarum was written by the priest J. Sprenger (born in Rheinfelden, today Switzerland), who was appointed by Pope Innocent VIII as the General Inquisitor for Germany around 1475, and H. Institoris, who at the time was inquisitor for Tyrol, Salzburg, Bohemia and Moravia.  Aristotle had no knowledge of how conception worked and he probably recommended this believing that the oil's smoothness would prevent conception. It was also common practice for the girls to use a rag inside to soak up the sperm, sometimes soaked in vinegar or another acidic mixture. Condoms and crude diaphragms and precursors to the IUD were also invented and on the market by the 1850s. In India, Vatsyayana's classical text (2nd century AD) presented various contraceptive methods including coitus obstructus involving controlling the release of semen. According to the 1850 U.S. census, the first ever conducted nationwide, the average woman had six children, down from 7-8 in 1800. After 1920 the birth control movement became gradually transformed into a respectable The economist Thomas Malthus argued in An Essay on the Principle of Population(1798) that population growth generally expanded in times and in regions of plenty until the size of the population relative to the primary resources caused distress.  In actuality, this method may have sometimes been effective because the oil may have gummed up the external os and thereby reduced the motility of the sperm, but effectiveness would have been only occasional and highly variable. In 1972, the case Eisenstadt v. Baird expanded the right to possess and use contraceptives to unmarried couples. , According to Norman E. Himes, most methods of birth control used in antiquity were probably ineffective. Malthusians were in favour of limiting population growth and began actively promoting birth control through a variety of groups. Throughout the 1920s, Stopes and other feminist pioneers, including Dora Russell and Stella Browne, played a major role in breaking down taboos about sex and increasing knowledge, pleasure and improved reproductive health.  During the same period Ali ibn Abbas al-Majusi documented the use of pessaries made of rock salt for women for whom pregnancy may be dangerous. That’s one technique ancient Egyptian women used to prevent pregnancy.  The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle (c. 384–322 BC) recommended applying cedar oil to the womb before intercourse. While the cause is uncertain, the 29% decline within a generation shows that the birth control methods Victorian women used were effective. By 1700, text began to supplement this tradition. So let’s look at Birth Control from 1800 until now. Charles Goodyear's "vulcanized" rubber revolutionized condom manufacturing in the mid-1800s. In the olden days, women for birth control would use stuff like coins, sponges, wads of cloth and other items that will fit and be relatively comfortable. Birth control was not particularly effective, other than abortion, during the mid 19th century. Birth Control before early 1800 were things like sea sponges, quinine, rock salt, alum, and mixture of crocodile dung and honey put in the vagina to help prevent pregnancy. Pregnancy and childbirth were major killers of women and in the western frontier, the mortality rate was three times higher than in New England and more than 50 times what it is today. Beginning in the 1800s, laws in the United States prohibited birth control, when temperance and anti-vice groups advocated outlawing contraceptives and information about them.  In 1930 the National Birth Control Council was formed. He demonstrated that two types of checks hold population within resource limits: positive checks, which raise the death rate; and preventive ones, which lower the birth rate. Third ed.  She went on to found the first birth control league in America in 1921. The history of birth control, also known as contraception and fertility control, refers to the methods or devices that have been historically used to prevent pregnancy.  The book was an instant success, requiring five editions in the first year  and elevating Stopes to a national figure. Soon, rubber condoms are mass produced. Tablets or tinctures of pennyroyal, rue, foxglove, angelica root, or partridge berry, marketed as "squaw vine," worked in various ways as abortifacients or preventives. Other birth control methods mentioned in the papyrus include the application of gummy substances to cover the "mouth of the womb" (i.e. Blue cohash was perhaps the most commonly used among many tribes as an abortifacient, as well as to induce labor.  This method is not only ineffective, but also dangerous, as the later medical writer Soranus of Ephesus (c. 98–138 AD) pointed out. It discusses various methods of birth control, ultimately concluding that an injection of a sort of primitive (by modern day standards) spermicide was the best option. However, it is not known if these methods were used primarily as birth control methods or to preserve the man's yang. Native American women, too, used birth control methods. The p… Knowledge of ovulation unknown until 1850 and books on the subject of birth control were considered obscene. They were a common gynecological treatment in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  By emphasising "control", the birth control movement argued that women should have control over their reproduction - the movement was closely tied to the emerging feminist movement.  In 1929 began to openly call for the legalization of abortion, during her lecture in front of the World Sexual Reform Congress in London. Early Literature: How did people learn about reproduction and birth control in early America? Some of these plants are toxic and ancient Greek documents specify safe dosages. By 1880, abortion, too, was criminalized in all states. Stopes was particularly influential in helping emerging birth control movements in a number of British colonies. According to the 1850 U.S. census, the first ever conducted nationwide, the average woman had six children, down from 7-8 in 1800. " The trial of Bradlaugh and Besant counter-productively triggered a wave of public interest in contraception, and book sales of Knowlton's book surged. Tea made from false hellebore root was used by both women and men to prevent children in the Paiute, Washo, and Shoshone tribes. Unemployment, PTSD (called "soldier's heart" in the 1860s), and domestic violence were at epidemic rates as well. The term 'voluntary motherhood' was coined by feminists in the 1870s as a political critique of "involuntary motherhood" and as expressing a desire for women's emancipation. One of the first prescriptions for birth control was on a papyrus sheet from 1550 B.C. Life was hard on the frontier, especially for women. Foreword by Michael Kirby. Many women were educated about contraception and how to avoid pregnancy. They were not only empowered by cultural knowledge passed down through generations, but by a natural pharmacopeia of plants and herbs available to them in nature. Her clinic made contraception acceptable during the 1920s by framing it in scientific terms and gained an international reputation. Geoffrey Gilbert, introduction to Malthus T.R.  Women of the time still used a number of birth control measures such as coitus interruptus, inserting lily root and rue into the vagina, and infanticide after birth. And since it was the 19th century and EVERYTHING was distributed by mail, this pretty much outlawed the practice of birth control. If you think pausing for a condom kills the mood, you should try rubbing crocodile dung on your cervix. Birth control history. Subsequently, the 1880s saw a steady decline in birth rates in industrialized countries. Tea from bitter cherry wood was used by the Skokomish, Skagit, Lummi, and Quinalt. Martin's, 2009. Birth control in the 18th century Married women, in the 17th and 18th centuries, would become pregnant on average five or six times. Thus, during the 1700s and 1800s condoms were used primarily for the prevention of venereal diseases but not as a contraception tool. That wasn't the only problem. Although pregnancy is the same biological process now as it was in the 19th century, attitudes toward and management of pregnancy have changed considerably over the past Queen Anne's lace is still used today for birth control in India. As the birth control societies spread across Europe, so did birth control clinics. Women fought for reproductive rights and they helped end the nation's ban on birth control in 1965. Recent studies have confirmed the birth control properties of many of these plants, confirming for example that Queen Anne's lace has post coital anti-fertility properties. PHOTOS: (Top left) A Victorian-era satirical postcard.  Historian Etienne van de Walle has quoted Riddle as stating that "most women" in the Middle Ages knew that certain herbs and herbal products could be taken to induce an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy and that this knowledge was primarily shared amongst women, thus affording them "more control over their lives than we thought possible".  They were prosecuted for publishing Charles Knowlton's Fruits of Philosophy which explained various methods of birth control.  A Hippocratic text On the Nature of Women recommended that a woman who did not desire to conceive a child should drink a copper salt dissolved in water, which it claimed would prevent pregnancy for a year. On the other hand, "preventive checks" to population that limited birthrates, such as later marriages, could ensure a higher standard of living for all, while also increasing economic stability.  It was initially founded during the "Knowlton trial" of Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh in July 1877. This, despite the fact that in the 1840s, state legislatures began passing laws outlawing the sale and use of contraceptives until the 1873 Comstock Law banned them federally. In an era long before chemical or hormonal contraceptive technology, Civil War-era Americans used the same methods known for centuries throughout the early modern world to prevent pregnancy.  Soranus attempted to list reliable methods of birth control.  Starting in the 1930s and intensifying in the '60s and '70s, the birth control movement advocated for the legalisation of abortion and large scale education campaigns about contraception by governments. Records detailing the use of birth control in Egypt date as far back as 1850 BCE. ", "Medical methods for first trimester abortion", "Contraceptive Practices and Trends in France", Birth Rates Plummeting in Some Ex-Communist Regions of Eastern Europe, "The 1966 Law Concerning Prohibition of Abortion in Romania and Its Consequences: The Fate of One Generation", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=History_of_birth_control&oldid=988930313, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 16 November 2020, at 02:09. All sort of concoctions, some deadly, were used, including bleach, sulfate of zinc, and, starting in the 1880s, Coca Cola and Lysol! In Italy women gained the right to access birth control information in 1970. , Gregory Pincus and John Rock with help from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America developed the first birth control pills in the 1950s which became publicly available in the 1960s.  The plant only grew on a small strip of land near the coastal city of Cyrene (located in modern-day Libya) and all attempts to cultivate it elsewhere resulted in failure. The league advocated the practice of contraception and public education on family planning. Birth control became a contested political issue in Britain during the 19th century. In the bull, which is sometimes referred to as the "Witch-Bull of 1484", the witches were explicitly accused of having "slain infants yet in the mother's womb" (abortion) and of "hindering men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving" (contraception). , Barrier methods such as the condom have been around much longer, but were seen primarily as a means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases, not pregnancy. The Ebers Papyrus from 1550 BC and the Kahun Papyrus from 1850 BC have within them some of the earliest documented descriptions of birth control, the use of honey, acacia leaves and lint to be placed in the vagina to block sperm. given to birth control products of the 1800s. Dr Dag Stenvoll, "Contraception, Abortion and State Socialism,", Libor Stloukal, "Understanding the 'Abortion Culture' in Central and Eastern Europe," in. The Hopi and Tewa used the Indian paintbrush plant to prevent pregnancy and the Navajo, stoneseed. Diana Wyndham (2012) "Norman Haire and the Study of Sex". Other plants commonly used for birth control in ancient Greece include Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota), willow, date palm, pomegranate, pennyroyal, artemisia, myrrh, and rue. Swipe to advance Margaret Sanger and Otto Bobsein popularised the phrase "birth control" in 1914. Toward the end of the 19th Century physicians writing on the subject were subject to arrest.  Sanger was mainly active in the United States, but had gained an international reputation by the 1930s.  Accounts of silphium's contraceptive effectiveness are probably greatly exaggerated. Life was hard on the frontier, especially for women. The year 1877 marked a big milestone for the birth control movement with the establishment of the Malthusian League by Thomas Malthus in the United Kingdom. Birth control become a major court issue in the 1930s, which helped to make it more acceptable.  Besant and Bradlaugh wrote that it was "...more moral to prevent the conception of children, than, after they are born, to murder them by want of food, air and clothing.  The clinic, run by midwives and supported by visiting doctors, offered mothers birth control advice and taught them the use of a cervical cap.  She originally tried to publicize her message through the dissemination of pamphlets in the slums of East London, but this approach failed to work, as the working class was too mistrustful of well-intentioned meddlers at the time. Clive Wood and Beryl Suitters (1970) "The Fight for Acceptance: A History of Contraception", Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire: Medical and Technical Publishing Co Ltd, p. 161.  Malthus later clarified his view that if society relied on human misery to limit population growth, then sources of misery (e.g., hunger, disease, and war) would inevitably afflict society, as would volatile economic cycles.  In some times and cultures, abortion had none of the stigma which it has today, making birth control less important; abortion was in practice a means of birth control. From Getty Images. Stella Browne's initial activism was limited to giving speaking tour across the country, providing information on birth control, women's health problems, problems related to puberty and sex education. The male version called a vasectomy started in the 1800s as a way to treat men’s prostate and then moved into a birth control method during WWII. , Historian John M. Riddle has advanced the hypothesis that women in classical antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern period used herbs to control fertility. Charles Goodyear's 1839 rubber "vulcanization" process revolutionized condom manufacturing.  Silphium was primarily used for culinary purposes and its use as a contraceptive is far less documented than its use as a seasoning. Sanger was arrested for distributing contraceptives, and went on trial. The use of birth control and abortion, however, declined as growing public opinion considered  Asafoetida, a close relative of siliphion, was also used for its contraceptive properties. Douching became a popular birth control method beginning in the 1830s, although many products were dangerous or deadly. In 1870, the Comstock Act , a set of federal acts outlawing the use of the U.S. postal service to mail anything sex-related, including contraception, passed. (Second row, left) An 1800s condom. Casanova in the 18th century was one of the first reported using "assurance caps" to prevent impregnating his mistresses. Sanger established a short lived birth control clinic in 1916, which was shut down just nine days later. , Silphium, a species of giant fennel native to north Africa, may have been used as an oral contraceptive in ancient Greece and the ancient Near East. This occurred for several reasons: Religious supporters claimed it was immoral to interfere with pregnancy, critics argued condoms encouraged sexual promiscuity, and women did not want men to control pregnancy. The Malthusian League was established in 1877 and promoted the education of the public about the importance of family planning and advocated for the elimination of penalties against the promoters of birth control. Birth control was a very touchy subject in the mid to late 1800s. , Birth control and abortion are well documented in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. In 1881 Kate and Oscar lived apart for a while, when he was ill, and then she lived with her mother for several months after he returned. Indians used a variety of birth control methods since ancient times, including a potion made of powdered palm leaf and red chalk, as well as pessaries made of honey, ghee, rock salt or the seeds of the palasa tree. Women waiting outside the first birth control clinic in the U.S., in Brooklyn, NY, October 1916.