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The Gendered Nature of Contraception in France: Neo-Malthusianism, 1900-1920

Elinor A. Accampo
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Vol. 34, No. 2, Before the Pill: Preventing Fertility in Western Europe and Quebec (Autumn, 2003), pp. 235-262
Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3657097
Page Count: 28
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The Gendered Nature of Contraception in France: Neo-Malthusianism, 1900-1920
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Abstract

As the first nation to undergo the fertility transition, France also experienced a demographic "crisis" concerning its drop in population. Contemporary reactions to the Neo-Malthusian effort to provide female contraceptives, and particularly to the feminist rhetoric of birth-control advocate Nelly Roussel, however, suggest that what was most threatening about female contraception was not the prospect of further depopulation but the idea of making motherhood a choice, thereby "de-naturalizing" women's bodies and threatening civilization itself.

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