The Dittrick Medical History Center will host the 2021 Percy Skuy Annual Lecture with a talk presented by Lauren Macivor Thompson titled “Doctors, Suffragists, Socialists, Eugenicists: Identities and Politics in the Early Birth Control Movement” Thursday, April 1, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Lauren Macivor Thompson is a historian of early 20th-century women’s rights, medicine, law and public health. She serves as the faculty fellow at the Georgia State University College of Law’s Center for Law, Health & Society and is a lecturer of history at Perimeter College, where she teaches the introductory surveys on United States history and world history.
This talk will focus on the wide range of actors involved in the early birth control movement and their motivations. Physicians, scientists, women’s rights activists and progressive reformers were often vocal supporters for legalizing contraception, but a fair number in each of those groups also opposed the movement for both moral reasons and reasons of professional power consolidation.These struggles profoundly shaped the direction of the movement and firmly linked birth control to racial and eugenic concerns, even as American families increasingly sought information on how to control the number of children they had. Together, medicine, the science of eugenics, and birth control converged in the 1930s to shape legalization, access and acceptance by the American public in ways that still have profound consequences today.
This year’s lecture will be presented as a webinar, with live captioning and ASL interpreter.