Controversy Over Birth Control Therapy
Change of Policy by New York Hospital Board
Lifting of a ban on the practice of contraceptive medicine in the municipal hospitals of New York City, Sept. 17, marked the passing of another milestone in a crusade that began 42 years ago when Margaret S anger opened the nation's first birth control clinic. Authority to fit patients with contraceptive devices was granted by the city's Board of Hospitals after it had been besieged by protests against an earlier restrictive ruling. The decision was taken over the objections of spokesmen for the Roman Catholic 40 per cent of the city's population.
New York City's new rule gives official sanction to the principle that birth control therapy has a proper place in a tax-supported medical service. Birth control advocates have long fought for acceptance of this principle as a logical next step following the freeing of private medical practice from legal restrictions on contraceptive medicine. Practice of birth control has not yet been authorized in the public hospitals of many communities, but its acceptance by the nation's largest city is bound to influence action taken on the question when it arises elsewhere.
Interest in and support for birth control have been strengthened in recent years by pressures generated by population growth, particularly in areas where lowered death rates and high birth rates have combined to checkmate efforts to raise living standards. Thus a movement which began as an effort to rescue individual women from “biological slavery” has broadened into a global effort to promote social and political stability by limiting the number of children born.