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Beyond the Book

248 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 6 figures, 1 table, notes, bibl., index

Paper
ISBN  978-1-4696-1808-1
Published: October 2014

A History of Family Planning in Twentieth-Century Peru

By Raúl Necochea López


Adding to the burgeoning study of medicine and science in Latin America, this important book offers a comprehensive historical perspective on the highly contentious issues of sexual and reproductive health in an important Andean nation. Raúl Necochea López approaches family planning as a historical phenomenon layered with medical, social, economic, and moral implications. At stake in this complex mix were new notions of individual autonomy, the future of gender relations, and national prosperity.

The implementation of Peru's first family planning programs led to a rapid professionalization of fertility control. Complicating the evolution of associated medical services were the conflicting agendas of ordinary citizens, power brokers from governmental and military sectors, clergy, and international health groups. While family planning promised a greater degree of control over individuals' intimate lives, as well as opportunities for economic improvement through the effective management of birth rates, the success of attempts to regulate fertility was far from assured. Today, Necochea López observes, although the quality of family planning resources in Peru has improved, services remain far from equitably available.

About the Author

Raúl Necochea López is assistant professor of social medicine and adjunct assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Reviews

"This excellent study presents the complexity of the subject of family planning."
--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“An ambitious book that approaches sweeping questions of public health and population growth in Latin America through the history of family planning in twentieth-century Peru.”
--American Historical Review

“Contributes to the histories of Latin America, medicine, and sexuality and reproduction. Of particular interest to scholars should be Necochea’s revelation of the centrality of individuals, their relationships, and the emotions implicated in these in the development of family planning initiatives.”
--Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"This excellent study breaks new ground on an important topic that is not well understood for any Latin American country. Featuring a broad timeframe and regional and international dynamics that illuminate constantly intersecting relationships, the book incorporates social and cultural factors that make Raúl Necochea López's contribution to the history of policy even richer and more interesting."
--Julia Rodriguez, University of New Hampshire

"A highly readable and engaging account that complicates our assumptions about family planning practices in countries assumed to be poor and overpopulated, helping us understand how family planning has been a constant and pivotal tool for policy makers, politicians, the Church, and feminists."
--Gabriela Soto Laveaga, University of California, Santa Barbara



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