Using original primary sources, this book uncovers and analyzes for the first time the politics of fertility and the battle over birth control in South Africa from 1910 (the year the country was formed) to 1945. It examines the nature and achievements of the South African birth-control movement in pre-apartheid South Africa, including the establishment of voluntary birth-control organizations in urban centres, the national birth-control coalition, and the clinic practices of the country's first birth-control clinics. The book spotlights important actors such as the birth controllers themselves, the women of all 'races' who utilized the clinics' services and the Department of Public Health, placing these within an international as well as national context.
'. . . A riveting read that should be of value to readers with an interest in medical and South African history, as well as the history of gender, race and eugenics.' - Shula Marks, Emeritus Professor of History, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
'This is a splendid work providing a detailed and nuanced account, meticuously located in space and time, of the development of birth control in South Africa, while clearly situating this within the wider international movement for reproductive control. Klausen does a first-class job of revealing the complex interaction of the various forces and interest groups involved with the issue in South Africa, and sheds light on parallel developments both in the British Empire and elsewhere.' - Dr Lesley A. Hall, Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine
'This is a noteworthy book, written in clear and accessible style. While opening new areas for historical research, the book also offers a lucid, feminist analysis of a crucial area of health care in South Africa. It will find a central place in my social policy graduate course, and no doubt in a wide variety of other courses in history, political studies and sociology.' - Shireen Hassim, South African Historical Journal
'While focusing on South Africa, Klausen's study meticulously shows how the ideas and practices of the different birth control campaigners drew upon and influenced those being developed in other countries such as Britain. For anyone interested in the history of birth control, Klausen's book provides a fascinating insight into the complex dynamics between ideology and the provision of services, as well as the influence of international and local politics on the networks that shaped access to contraception.' - Medical History
'Deservedly worth reading .. Altho
ugh it is possible to read this book as a history of contraception alone, it is much more than this. At roughly 150 pages, the book is easily manageable and would do nicely for students wanting to get their teeth into a book that deals with a coherent and gender-sensitive subject.' - H-SAfrica
'Thoroughly researched...it is a fascinating examination of the interrelationships between race, gender and birth control. But it is also a moving account of the suffering of Whites and Blacks, women, children and men, sunk into the bottomless pit of poverty.' - Laurette Geldenhuys, Canadian Bulletin of Medical History