Introduction
Contraceptive commercialisation before the Pill
in The business of birth control
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The introduction orientates the reader to the topic of the book. It highlights how the concomitant increasing adoption of birth control as a practice and commercialisation of contraceptives as commodities resulted in a mid-twentieth-century moral panic, the outcome of which was the Contraceptives (Regulation) Bills of 1934 and 1938. The Bills aimed to curb excess commercialisation, but the lack of consensus on what constituted excess and how curbing it could be achieved meant that the Bills were abandoned. Focusing on the tensions between the growing acceptance, reliability, visibility and respectability of birth control and increasing contraceptive commercialisation, much of which morality campaigners saw as ‘conscienceless’, not only demonstrates the hitherto neglected importance of business in shaping sexual knowledge and practice but also sheds greater light on the ambiguities and struggles of an interwar Britain attempting to break away from its Edwardian and Victorian past through its embrace of modernity, science, technology and medicine.

The business of birth control

Contraception and commerce in Britain before the sexual revolution

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