Broadcasting Birth Control: Mass Media and Family Planning (Rutgers University Press, 2013) explores the use of mass media, from the era of silent film to the internet, to promote family planning at home in the United States, and in the expanding international arena of population control. Mass media was critical to the birth control movement’s attempts to build support and later to publicize the idea of fertility control and the availability of contraceptive services. Though these public efforts in advertising and education were undertaken initially by leading advocates, including Margaret Sanger, increasingly a growing class of public communications experts took on the role, mimicking the efforts of commercial advertisers to promote health and contraception in short plays, cartoons, films, and soap operas. In this way, they made a private subject—fertility control—appropriate for public discussion. Today, mass media remains a primary battleground in the culture war over women’s reproductive health.
“Parry’s clear, compelling, meticulously researched, and accessible book is the first to specifically examine the extensive use of mass media to garner support for the legalization of birth control during the twentieth century.” —Heather Munro Prescott, author of The Morning After: A History of Emergency Contraception in the United States
“By showing how the popular media helped win over a skeptical public, Parry deepens our understanding of the history of birth control . . . a subtle and persuasive reinterpretation.” –Sonya Michel, Professor of History, University of Maryland