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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about... birth control.


CURWOOD: Human population and the condition of the environment are linked hand in hand. More people mean greater demands on resources and less space for other species. So we note that this year marks a landmark in attempts to control population. Eighty years ago Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in New York City. Back then, birth control devices and instructions on how to use them were closely held by physicians and available only by prescription. In Ms. Sanger's day, birth control methods were limited to condoms, primitive cervical caps, and the calendar. Today, distribution of birth control is so widespread that condoms are sold in convenience stores and given away in some schools. Between 1982 and 1990, the most recent period we have statistics for, the number of women between 15 and 44 who said they used contraception hovered around 35%. Probably because of the risk of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, condom use increased by 4% during those 8 years while other methods, such as the pill, IUD, or diaphragm, declined. Overall, we think Ms. Sanger would be pleased. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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