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Ballots, Babies, and Banners of PeaceAmerican Jewish Women's Activism, 1890-1940$
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Melissa R. Klapper

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814748947

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814748947.001.0001

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“I Started to Get Smart, Not to Have So Many Children”

“I Started to Get Smart, Not to Have So Many Children”

The American Jewish Community and the Early Years of the Birth Control Movement

(p.68) 2 “I Started to Get Smart, Not to Have So Many Children”
Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace

Melissa R. Klapper

NYU Press

This chapter establishes the continuities and new directions in Jewish women's activism during the 1920s, when increasing numbers of Jewish women worked for broader feminist agenda. Even before the suffrage victory, this agenda had included women winning greater control over their bodies. They rarely rejected motherhood—highly valued as a vital part of their roles as Jewish women—but they did seek to control it and thus shape their own lives and those of their families. During the 1920s, an explosion of birth control activism deviated from its radical roots and engaged more “ordinary” women and men. Accordingly, Jewish women became a significant consumer constituency for the birth control movement, challenging the restrictive legal environment. Indeed, American Jewish culture generally supported contraception, although pockets of resistance persisted.

Keywords:   Jewish women's activism, birth control activism, birth control movement, American Jewish culture, contraception

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