1969 July 18

President Nixon Discusses Population Issues, Endorses Family Planning

 

President Richard Nixon, along with many other Republican leaders in the 1960s and 1970s, was a strong supporter of family planning and federal support of contraceptive services. In a speech on this day, he expressed his support for family planning, more research on birth control, and government-supported family planning services for low-income women. He signed into law the Public Health Services Act on December 26, 1970, which provided federal support for family planning services.

The Republican Party position changed when neo-conservatives, with an anti-abortion, anti-birth control agenda, captured control of the GOP in the late 1970s.

President Nixon:  “It is clear, for example, that we need additional research on birth control methods of all types and the sociology of population growth. . . It is [also] clear that the domestic family planning services supported by the Federal Government should be expanded and better integrated. Both the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the Office of Economic Opportunity are now involved in this important work, yet their combined efforts are not adequate to provide information and services to all who want them. In particular, most of an estimated five million low income women of childbearing age in this country do not now have adequate access to family planning assistance, even though their wishes concerning family size are usually the same as those of parents of higher income groups. It is my view that no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition. I believe, therefore, that we should establish as a national goal the provision of adequate family planning services within the next five years to all those who want them but cannot afford them. This we have the capacity to do.”

Read Nixon’s full speech: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=2132

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