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CON(TRA)CEPTS OF CARE: SOUTHERN ALBERTA BIRTH CONTROL CENTRES & REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE, 1969-1979

Date

2021-04-07

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

ORCID

0000-0002-8188-6178

Type

Thesis

Degree Level

Doctoral

Abstract

In 1969, as the government of Alberta rolled out their provincial healthcare policy the Canadian government decriminalized contraception and abortions approved by Therapeutic Abortion Committees. The unfortunate timing of both major legislative events meant that provincial birth control, abortion, and other reproductive and sexual health services remained in bureaucratic limbo for almost a decade until officially integrated into Alberta Healthcare Services between 1978 and 1979. Following decriminalization, activists and some medical professionals in southern Alberta established birth control centres using alternative reproductive health models and education plans to fill the voids in the new healthcare bureaucracy. These birth control centres, the Calgary Birth Control Association (CBCA) and the Lethbridge Birth Control and Information Centre (LBCIC), became hubs of reproductive and sexual health services, education, and expertise in 1970s Alberta, bringing an activist agenda to health services in this arena. This study considers how activists like the women who established, ran, and visited the birth control centres, in southern Alberta spearheaded changes in reproductive health services that combined elements of feminism with principles of Medicare. By applying a reproductive justice framework, this dissertation examines the disparities in access to health and educational services based on race, age, and place and explores the activist legacies in so-called conservative regions. Building on foundational scholarship on the history of birth control, reproductive rights, reproductive justice, and women’s health activism, this dissertation argues that between 1969 and 1979 women’s activism within and related to these local birth control centres significantly shaped local and regional discourses of health, reproduction, and feminist politics. In doing so, I recognized the groundwork set by the activists at the LBCIC and CBCA created space for Alberta to become an unexpected leader in providing reproductive healthcare services in 1970s western Canada.

Description

Keywords

women's health, birth control centres, birth control, abortion, feminism, reproductive justice, Alberta, Southern Alberta, Calgary, Lethbridge, women's history, healthcare, reproductive health, sexual health, medical models, activism, premarital sex, teen pregnancy

Citation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

History

Program

History

Citation

Part Of

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DOI

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