Despite widespread use of effective, safe contraception, half of all pregnancies in the United States remain unplanned. The burden of researching, finding, and paying for a method of birth control generally falls on women. How women understand and negotiate decision making regarding contraception is essential for health communicators to understand. The history of contraceptive use offers insight into health communication efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy and improve access to birth control.


The emergence of modern contraception may be traced to 1839, when Charles Goodyear perfected the ability to vulcanize rubber and manufactured barrier contraceptive methods such as condoms and diaphragms. By the 1870s, barrier methods of contraception, including condoms, sponges, diaphragms, and cervical caps, were widely available in the United States. Although many states already prohibited ...

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