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Conception Control and Its Effects on the Individual and the Nation   By:

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CONCEPTION CONTROL AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE NATION

by

FLORENCE E. BARRETT, C.B.E., M.D., M.S., B.Sc.

Consulting Obstetric and Gynæcological Surgeon to the Royal Free Hospital. President of the Federation of Medical Women.

With a Foreword by His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury.

1922

PREFACE

This small book has been written in response to many requests for some statement regarding the individual and national effects of the widespread practice of conception control.

It is not intended to give medical advice on the subject for, in my judgment, that is best given to the individual by his or her medical adviser, and will vary in different circumstances.

The question as to whether control of conception shall or shall not be practised is a decision ethical and not medical in character when husband and wife are healthy, and in the last resort will be decided by the individual pair for themselves; but they will be wise to discuss the question with their medical attendant in order to realise all that is involved in their decision.

Space forbids anything like a full discussion of the national issues, but that aspect of the subject demands quite as careful study as personal needs or desires.

F.E.B.

31, DEVONSHIRE PLACE, W.1. September, 1922.

FOREWORD

The Archbishop of Canterbury allows me to use the following letter as a Foreword to this little book.

DEAR LADY BARRETT,

I have read with great interest the manuscript of your pamphlet. Very many of us who have daily to do with the problems and perplexities of our social life and to give counsel to the anxious or the penitent or the perturbed will thank you for these clear and cogent chapters. To arguments based on moral and religious principle you add the weight of ripe experience and of technical scientific knowledge. Your words will gain access to the commonsense of many who would perhaps regard the opinions of clergy as likely to be prejudiced or uninformed. I am of course not qualified to express an independent judgment upon the medical or physiological aspects of this delicate problem, but I desire on moral and religious as well as on social and national grounds to support your general conclusions, and to express the hope that your paper may have wide circulation among those who are giving attention to what is becoming an urgent question in thousands of English homes.

I am, Yours very truly, RANDALL CANTUAR.

LAMBETH PALACE, S.E. 3rd August, 1922.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM OF TO DAY

CHAPTER II THE DEMAND FOR KNOWLEDGE AND FROM WHOM TO OBTAIN IT

CHAPTER III METHODS

CHAPTER IV THE EFFECT OF WIDESPREAD CONCEPTION CONTROL ON NATIONAL EFFICIENCY

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS

CHAPTER I

THE PROBLEM OF TO DAY

In the late seventies of last century a pamphlet entitled The Fruits of Philosophy was republished by Mrs. Annie Besant and Mr. Charles Bradlaugh, in their desire to mitigate the suffering of poor women who were overburdened by work and further weakened by frequent child bearing. They resolved to face public obloquy and even legal prosecution in order to bring to these women knowledge of how to prevent conception, which, in their opinion, would give the relief they so sorely needed. As is well known, the later pamphlet on the same subject written by themselves was withdrawn from publication by Mrs. Besant in 1886 on religious grounds.

During the last few years the idea of the need for conception control has again become prominent, partly as a revolt against the bondage of women in child bearing, partly accentuated by the difficulties and uncertainties of an adequate livelihood, and the desire to have a few children well educated and cared for rather than many who shift more or less for themselves.

But also the claim is made that marriage exists at least as much for the fulfilment of happiness in union with the beloved as for the procreation of children; and that it should be possible for a married pair to have the fullest gratification without fear of children unless they desire them... Continue reading book >>




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