11 Pages


Since the early 1800s, the debate over the regulation of contraception has yielded three distinct phases of policy reflecting three definitions of contraceptives: (1) as obscene materials; (2) for treatment of disease; and (3) as an aid in family planning. The policies that emerged during each phase of the debate are the products of the way the contraception issues came to public discussion and the development of the debate in relation to social and economic change, as well as to changes in technology. Feminists have participated in each phase of the debate but have not yet managed to gain control. Thus, access to contraceptive information and services is not yet officially defined as a matter of women’s rights. As a consequence, the women’s health movement remains vigilant in alerting feminists to the impact of contemporary governmental rules and regulations on this essential means of reproductive freedom and choice.