Wicked or Warranted? US Press Coverage of Contraception 1873-1917
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Taylor & Francis
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This study examines the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times press coverage of contraception during one key period: 1873–1917. The first 30 years after the passage of the Comstock Act in 1873 were difficult for contraception advocates. The New York Times narrative reflected a battle between those who supported the Comstock Act and the men and women who opposed it. Conversely, the Los Angeles Times narrative portrayed the birth control debate as a wide-ranging battle of ideas occurring in a variety of venues. Press coverage revealed that the use of birth control was common and the real debate was over who had access and whether the information should be publicly available. The battle that began in 1873 is not over as contemporary press coverage reveals the debate over birth control continues.