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The Pill
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Teacher's Guide: Hints for the Active Learning Questions

1. Remind students that as the essay on the Comstock laws notes, anti-birth control laws frequently were not enforced strictly.

2. You might point out to students beforehand that these patterns might be geographic -- fertility rates might tend to be similar among countries in a given region -- or might reflect other factors. For example, countries that are widely separated geographically but have similar levels of economic development might have similar fertility rates.

1. After the debate, you might ask students whether they had difficulty considering the question from the perspective of a parent rather than a student and whether their views as a "parent" differed from their views as a student.

2. Supporters of proposals such as these argue that they can prevent women from having children they are incapable of raising. Opponents argue that these proposals violate the rights of the women affected and also target women unfairly, since they do not apply to men. You might have students read about Black Genocide and discuss whether the fears expressed there are relevant to the issue of Norplant.

1. This Web site contains materials on the Comstock Act and Margaret Sanger. Materials on the other topics can be found elsewhere on the Internet or in the library.

2. Supporters of both sets of laws argued that they would benefit society by inhibiting private vices. Opponents argued that they violated individuals' rights to control their own lives and bodies. On the larger issue of legislating morality, students should recognize both the difficulty of attaining consensus on matters of individual behavior and the likely consequences if there were no restraints on that behavior.

3a. The Pill promoted the goals of the women's rights movement by giving women greater control over their own bodies and thus their own future; it promoted the goals of the sexual revolution by separating intercourse from procreation.

3b. Answers will vary; students should defend their positions.

1. Possible examples include books such as Sister Carrie, Sex and the Single Girl, and The Rules and movies and television shows such as "Splendor in the Grass," "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," and "Sex and the City."

2. When the chart is complete, you might ask students what they learned from the exercise.

3. This activity could be used as the starting point for a broader class discussion of the prominence of sexuality in contemporary American popular culture.

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