Abstract

abstract:

A range of contraceptive technologies was available in Poland between the late 1950s and early 1970s. Following the legalization of abortion in 1956, a public health campaign, supported by the communist authorities, popularized contraception. Based on archival sources, press items, and popular medical literature, this article is the first systematic study of contraceptive technologies in postwar Poland before the pill, which also examines the trajectories of female barrier methods and spermicides. The availability and quality of these contraceptive products fluctuated in the centrally planned economy, and they were ascribed at times contradictory values. Thus, the circulation of contraceptive technologies was shaped by concurrent processes of innovation and maladjustment disconnected from the authorities' declarations of support for contraception as an alternative to abortion. Focusing on the materiality of contraceptive technologies sheds new light on the history of reproduction in postwar Poland.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1097-3729
Print ISSN
0040-165X
Pages
pp. 182-208
Launched on MUSE
2022-01-06
Open Access
No
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