Fertility Control: Eugenics, Neo-Malthusianism, and Feminism

Susanne Klausen, Alison Bashford

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Scopus citations


This article analyzes the preoccupation of eugenics with fertility control-a broad term denoting all methods by which humans seek to induce, prevent, or terminate pregnancy. It also discusses the role of eugenicists in establishing birth control clinics, and to advocate for more controversial technologies of reproductive control such as sterilization and sometimes abortion. It also shows the link between feminist, eugenic, and neo-Malthusian discourses. It begins with the classic definition of eugenics and then indicates that contraceptive information would be offered to married women who are too young, ill, or weak for pregnancy, or who experienced pregnancy too frequently. This article also provides an understanding of the role played by feminism in the social acceptance of technologies of reproductive control. It concludes that eugenic feminists often connected by neo-Malthusian ideas have played a leading role in developing new reproductive technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of The History of Eugenics
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940417
ISBN (Print)9780195373141
StatePublished - Sep 24 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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