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

Simone M. Caron

in Who Chooses?

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780813031996
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039220 | DOI:
World War II, the Baby Boom, and the Population Explosion, 1939–1963

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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

Chapter.  12906 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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