Human Rights, Women's Rights, States' Rights: The Politics of Federal Family Planning Programs, 1965-1988

by Josie Rodberg

Jan 1, 2010
In 1965 the United States federal government announced that grants were available through the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) to establish birth control clinics in poor neighborhoods. For the first time, the federal government would openly support family planning programs in America. The OEO was responsible for carrying out President Lyndon B. Johnson's "war on poverty," so federal support for family planning began as an anti-poverty strategy. It has remained entangled with welfare policy ever since. However, scholars have not examined the history of federally-funded birth control programs in the U.S., and have therefore overlooked an important way that reproductive rights and the welfare state have been connected since the 1960s. My dissertation, "Human Rights, Women's Rights, States' Rights: The Politics of Federal Family Planning Programs, 1965-1988," examines the history of federal funding for birth control in order to shed new light on the relationship between family planning policy and welfare policy. In so doing, it will contribute to our understanding of the histories of birth control, welfare, and the U.S. government's influence on its citizens' sexual and reproductive lives.
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