Are boys able to adopt birth control?

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Roman birch

Birth control as a human right

The discussion about global overpopulation since the 1940s
Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2020
ISBN 9783835336414
Carton, 319 pages, 32.90 EUR


With illustrations. The role of human rights in "overpopulation" and global reproductive policy debates since the 1940s. Fears of an "overpopulation" of the planet rapidly gained in importance in the 1940s and have been with us up to the present day. Governments, NGOs, the United Nations, the Catholic Church, international law activists and women's organizations have debated controversially over the past decades about whether population growth is causing problems and how to react to them. Right from the start, this debate focused on the question of whether individual decisions about family size may be restricted by states in order to avert possible negative consequences. Does population growth threaten human rights and are therefore programs that target sterility legitimate? Or do such measures, some of which are enforced, represent a violation of human rights themselves? Roman Birke analyzes these international struggles over the interpretation of human rights and uses the case studies of India, Ireland, the USA and Yugoslavia to show what significance they have for the politics of nation states.

Review note on Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 3rd, 2020

Monika Remé reads Roman Birke's historical account of the "birth control movement", its struggles, successes and defeats with interest. Not only does the author offer exciting anecdotes about lobbying and especially about the work of John Rockefeller III. on the matter, according to Remé, he also refrains from cheap conclusions. The reviewer perceives the fact that the historian hardly goes into racist arguments in the discussion about birth control as a deficiency, just as many other sides of the problem are examined too under-complexly in the book.
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Review note on Süddeutsche Zeitung, August 17, 2020

Friederike Bauer thinks it is a shame that no easier-to-read book has been published on this important topic. But at least there is now this study that emerged from a dissertation. Not very eloquent, but meticulously and above all comprehensively, the author reproduces the discussion of the many decades, shows the roles of the actors and traces the sometimes curious alliances. In any case, the critic finds this appraisal of the delicate discourse, in which cold war rhetoric, racism, theological dogmatism and feminist insistence on women's rights mixed up, extremely "meritorious". The discussion, or rather the underlying problem of overpopulation, is still very urgent, she reminds us.
Karosh Taha: In the queen's belly.
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Review note on Deutschlandfunk Kultur, June 22nd, 2020

With the book by the historian Roman Birke, reviewer Arno Orzessek has an inkling of how complex and unsolved the problem of birth control still is. With Birke throughout the debates on the subject since 1940, the reviewer gets to know the institutions and groups leading the debate, from the Population Council to the women's movement to the Catholic Church, and is presented with the legal, political, theological, humanitarian and demographic arguments for and against birth control and realizes: There are still no easy-to-use solutions.