Intended Consequences: Birth Control, Abortion, and the Federal Government in Modern America

Intended Consequences: Birth Control, Abortion, and the Federal Government in Modern America

by Donald T. Critchlow

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After World War II, U.S. policy experts--convinced that unchecked population growth threatened global disaster--successfully lobbied bipartisan policy-makers in Washington to initiate federally-funded family planning. In Intended Consequences, Donald T. Critchlow deftly chronicles how the government's involvement in contraception and abortion evolved into one of the most bitter, partisan controversies in American political history. The growth of the feminist movement in the late 1960s fundamentally altered the debate over the federal family planning movement, shifting its focus from population control directed by established interests in the philanthropic community to highly polarized pro-abortion and anti-abortion groups mobilized at the grass-roots level. And when the Supreme Court granted women the Constitutional right to legal abortion in 1973, what began as a bi-partisan, quiet revolution during the administrations of Kennedy and Johnson exploded into a contentious argument over sexuality, welfare, the role of women, and the breakdown of traditional family values. Intended Consequences encompasses over four decades of political history, examining everything from the aftermath of the Republican "moral revolution" during the Reagan and Bush years to the current culture wars concerning unwed motherhood, homosexuality, and the further protection of women's abortion rights. Critchlow's carefully balanced appraisal of federal birth control and abortion policy reveals that despite the controversy, the family planning movement has indeed accomplished much in the way of its intended goal--the reduction of population growth in many parts of the world. Written with authority, fresh insight, and impeccable research, Intended Consequences skillfully unfolds the history of how the federal government found its way into the private bedrooms of the American family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198021537
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/10/2001
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 598 KB

About the Author

The author and editor of nine books, including The Politics of Abortion and Birth Control in Historical Perspective (1996) and most recently, With Us Always: Private Charity and Public Welfare (1998), Donald T. Critchlow is founding editor of The Journal of Policy History, has been a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., and has taught at Hong Kong University and Warsaw University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 3(10)
Laying the Foundation for Federal Family Planning Policy: The Eisenhower-Kennedy Years
Moving Forward Quietly: Family Planning in the Johnson Administration
Implementing the Policy Revolution Under Johnson and Nixon
The Backlash: Roman Catholics, Contraceptives, Abortion, and Sterilization
Richard Nixon and the Politicization of Family Planning Policy
Contesting the Policy Terrain After Roe: From Reagan to Clinton
Conclusion 225(14)
Notes 239(58)
Index 297

What People are Saying About This

Hugh Heclo

This is policy history at its best. With an eye for both telling detail and larger cultural trends, Professor Critchlow demonstrates the value of careful, impartial historical research on a subject filled with partisan assertion and misinformation. For anyone seeking a historically grounded understanding of the Federal government's role in family planning policy, this is the place to begin (Hugh Heclo is Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Public Affairs, George Mason University)

James T. Patterson

Tackling a highly controversial subject that has incited 'culture wars' in America, Donald Critchlow manages to tell the story in a remarkably balanced way (James T. Patterson is Ford Foundation Professor of History, Brown University).

Byron E. Shafer

Nothing puzzles foreign observers of American politics more than the centrality of conflict over public policy on abortion. That conflict appears multifaceted, passionate, recurrent--and out of all proportion to policy impact. Critchlow provides a firmly rooted and richly textured picture of its emergence, sufficient to convert the puzzle into an explanation. It is a story where many consequences were not intended, but Intended Consequences proves to be a diagnostic example of what policy history should be (Byron E. Shafer is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of American Government, Oxford University).

Philip Gleason

Intended Consequences provides a superb account of the evolution of federal policy on population issues, family planning, and abortion. The themes are controversial, but Critchlow's tone is moderate, his insights shrewd, and his judgments balanced. A work of permanent value (Philip Gleason is Professor Emeritus of History, University of Notre Dame).

Jane Sherron De Hart

Intended Consequences is essential reading for those who wish to understand how concern about burgeoning global population in the aftermath of World War II evolved into federally funded family planning programs and ultimately into the highly polarized debate over abortion rights that wracks contemporary American society (Jane Sherron De Hart is Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara).

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