Who Pays for What? Abortion and Sterilization, 1960–1975

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:
Who Pays for What? Abortion and Sterilization, 1960–1975

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This chapter discusses changes in reproductive policy from 1960 to 1975. In order to lower illegitimacy, break the cycle of poverty, and reduce welfare expenditures, the government subsidized services, including contraceptives, abortion for a short time, and sterilization. Government action in this area had little to do with women's right to control their bodies but rather with concerns over mounting welfare expenditures and perceived uncontrolled fertility among the indigent, especially ethnic and racial minorities. To resolve these “problems” the federal government increased financial support for family planning by 1,300 percent between 1967 and 1973. This involvement coincided with the welfare explosion of the late 1960s and the escalating costs to society of programs for the indigent. Through subsidized contraception white elites in powerful positions attempted to shape the racial and socioeconomic quality of the population along lines suitable to them. While many women faced coercive tactics, others were able to take advantage of new subsidized services to govern their life choices.

Keywords: abortion; reproductive policy; sterilization; family planning programs; welfare costs; conceptives

Chapter.  15037 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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