“The Diaphragm Debates: Protestants, Jews, Catholics, and A Changing Culture of Contraception” with Professor Samira Mehta
Co-sponsored by Department of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies
On the eve of the 1960 FDA approval of the birth control pill, debates about how Americans should understand contraception raged. Using fictional depictions of unmarried women seeking diaphragms and a debate about whether diaphragms should be available in public hospitals, Professor Mehta explains how society understood contraception in the late 1950s. Taken together, these depictions allow us to delve into a network of complicated issues including religious freedom; interfaith approaches to contraception; the surveillance of women, their bodies, and the sexuality; and the implications of that surveillance for women’s access to and feelings about contraception.