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August 22, 1966

The Physician and Family Planning

Author Affiliations

From Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans.

JAMA. 1966;197(8):646-650. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110080086027

What are the responsibilities of the physician in family planning? Until the last two or three years, most doctors thought little about the matter, assuming that this was not their concern, though they may have been vaguely troubled by the increasing number of reports pointing out the serious consequences of overpopulation. Even if they read that the world's population was going to double by the year 2000, and that in some countries the rate was even higher than this, or that a serious food shortage was even now the result of the population explosion, the average physician was not personally concerned. Numbers are too abstract; it is difficult to visualize a world in which every person will exist on one square foot of space. That kind of visual image is too far from our own experience to be comprehended and, as a result, it becomes an absurdity, without real psychological