Birds, bees and birth control: a history of Family Planning in Queensland 1971-2001

Bannah, Sylvia (2010). Birds, bees and birth control: a history of Family Planning in Queensland 1971-2001 PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Bannah, Sylvia
Thesis Title Birds, bees and birth control: a history of Family Planning in Queensland 1971-2001
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-05
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Rod Fisher
Sarah Ferber
Clive Moore
Total pages 353
Total colour pages 70
Total black and white pages 283
Subjects 21 History and Archaeology
Formatted abstract  The Family Planning Association of Queensland (now known as Family Planning Queensland) has played a significant role in providing sexual and reproductive health services since 1971, yet its history has been subject to very little investigation. This study examines the establishment of the organisation and its development over the next 30 years, focusing on the forces that shaped it and the local, national and international contexts in which it evolved.

Drawing on extensive archival and other primary and secondary source materials, the study shows that while FPAQ developed in parallel with the other Australian Family Planning Associations it cultivated a distinctive character as it responded to Queensland’s physical, social and political environment. While initially the Association’s priorities were to provide contraceptive and professional training services in Brisbane, it soon began community education, information and publicity and promotional activities, established a network of regional branches and developed governance processes to support them.

In articulating the history of FPAQ, the study fills a gap in the historiography of sexual and reproductive health services in Queensland and Australia and sheds new light on recent social, medical, nursing, political and women’s history. In terms of family planning, it confirms that the ‘personal is political’ and adds to a growing body of literature which shows the interaction between issues of sexuality, reproduction and fertility control and public policy and social debates. In setting the history of FPAQ in international context, the thesis contributes to an understanding of the birth control movement, links between the past and the present, and the processes by which the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a large social movement organisation, transmitted values, policies and practices to one of its affiliates working at the local level.

The thesis takes an interdisciplinary approach to research, analysis and documentation of the establishment and development of FPAQ and the activities in which it became involved. While it is primarily a study in applied history, organisation and social movement theories have provided a useful framework for examining the Association’s history.

Overall, the study argues that there were four main forces driving and shaping FPAQ. The birth control movement itself was influential. As a member of national and international family planning federations, the Association was assisted by them and was subject to the conditions of membership of both. A second and equally significant influence was the Commonwealth Government which became the major funding and policy-making body following the election of the Whitlam Government. FPAQ was also affected by the Queensland environment in which it emerged and existed. Geography and demography and social, medical, legal and political issues all contributed to shaping the Association and giving it a distinctive Queensland character. Finally, the thesis argues that no less important than any of these was the force exerted by key individuals on the development of FPAQ, its manner of operation and the stance it adopted in relation to the outside world.
Keyword Family planning
Birth control
Sex education
Sexual and reproductive health
Women’s health services

 
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Created: Sat, 06 Nov 2010, 08:08:04 EST by Ms Sylvia Bannah on behalf of Library - Information Access Service