Birth Control in Europe

Thermometer for determining the fertile and infertile days of the menstrual cycle, circa 1950.
August Haidjuk, “Always more and always less,” Ulk  24 (1912), Berlin.

While the notion that any pregnancy must be stoically accepted dominated in Europe until the eighteenth century, birth control spread during the nineteenth century and gradually became a common practice despite opposition from the Church and political authorities. It was actually seen as a means of upward mobility and from the 1960s increasingly as an instrument of freedom. Policies, which had for a long time condemned this evolution, ultimately adapted and contributed to it through the liberalization of contraception. Governments nevertheless remain divided in Europe, particularly with regard to the question of abortion.