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JAMA Revisited
July 9, 2014

Birth Control in Comprehensive Health Care

JAMA. 2014;312(2):194. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.279565

The need for control of population, whether in nations or individual families, is now recognized on a worldwide basis. Indeed, the very word “birth control,” which until only a few years ago was considered offensive or controversial, is now generally well accepted as common parlance. Certainly all groups, including the Roman Catholic Church, have endorsed the principle of responsible parenthood; ie, only children which can be cared for, loved, educated, and, most of all, wanted, should be brought into the world. All groups recognize that unplanned pregnancies or unwanted children can result in a host of social ills—illegitimacy, illegal abortions, marital problems, desertion, delinquency, despair, and hopeless poverty. Since the means of pregnancy prevention and child spacing are within the province of medicine, it follows that birth control is a vital part of preventive medicine and comprehensive health care. The American Medical Association acknowledged this fact when its House of Delegates stated in 1964 that “An intelligent recognition of the problems that relate to human reproduction, including the need for population control, is more than a matter of responsible parenthood; it is a matter of responsible medical practice.”

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