Policy and Practice in Paramedical Organisations
The Case of Family Planning Agencies
ByMalcolm Cross, Sara Arber
Pages 24

185In a recent paper John Peel and Malcolm Potts lamented the lack of involvement of sociologists in research on family planning programmes (Peel and Potts, 1973). They attributed this to the continuing strength of anti-Malthusianism in sociology and the reluctance to accept that westerners had any right to interfere with the expansion of populations in underdeveloped countries. However, one can recognise the force of both these arguments and still be concerned about such programmes. Some £200 million is spent annually on providing clinics and contraceptives in the underdeveloped world and about half this amount comes from rich countries. This fact alone ought to guarantee critical attention, especially since the programmes are said to be ‘ill conceived and sociologically unrealistic’ (Peel and Potts, 1973, p. 184). In addition, it is widely and forcefully argued that access to effective contraception is a sine qua non of women’s equality with men. For example, Lucinda Cisler has commented: ‘Without the full capacity to limit her own reproduction, a woman’s other “freedoms” are tantalizing mockeries that cannot be exercised. With it, the others cannot long be denied, since the chief rationale for denial disappears’ (Cisler, 1970, p. 246).