Abstract

Personal documents, articles in medical journals, brochures, and newspaper articles, and reports of public meetings suggest that the medical profession in the Netherlands harbored a negative attitude toward birth control during the 1870s and 1880s; during the 1890s and thereafter, it maintained steadfast silence on birth-control matters. Population-register data and vital registration information show, however, that despite their reticence on the subject, medical men were among the most effective birth controllers in the population, despite marrying relatively young wives. They stopped having children once they had reached their desired total number. The profession's fear of losing its hardearned respectability and status by becoming connected with contraception-related issues, such as prostitution and venereal disease, may well have caused its public disapproval of birth control.

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