Historical Overview of Reproductive Rights in The United States

In 1972, Time magazine published a cover story entitled “Sex and the Teenager,” which lamented the destigmatization of non-marital sexual activity. The article attributed skyrocketing numbers of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and abortions to “the destigmatization of premarital sex, […] the birth control pill, peer pressure, the drug culture, the compromised moral authority of divorced parents, and the women’s liberation movement”3. With the possible exception of peer pressure, each of these “reasons” for increased sexual activity can be connected directly to the Sexual Revolution.

Before the Sexual Revolution, which began in the 1960s and encompassed feminist movements, the liberalization of divorce laws, the introduction of hormonal contraception, and the legalization of abortion, sexual morality had been inexorably tied to religious morality. Until the Sexual Revolution, there was no need for traditional Christians to invoke conservative values because those values were already built into the fabric and behavior of American society.

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3. Lassiter p. 17.