Volume 19 - Article 5 | Pages 73–84  

Overview Chapter 3: Birth regulation in Europe: Completing the contraceptive revolution

By Tomas Frejka

This article is part of the Special Collection 7 "Childbearing Trends and Policies in Europe"


Early in the 21st century modern contraception -- primarily hormonal methods, advanced IUDs, sterilization and condoms -- has become the main instrument of birth regulation in Northern and Western Europe and gaining ground in Southern Europe and the formerly state socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Legal induced abortion use, which was highly prevalent in Central and Eastern Europe, has been declining since the demise of authoritarian regimes around 1990. Nonetheless, abortions are still used in countries of the former Soviet Union and the Balkans, where the “abortion culture” had been deeply ingrained. Liberal abortion legislation, modern induced abortion technology, and modern contraceptives, have enhanced women’s health, been instrumental in childbearing postponement, have been a factor in changing partnership relations, and in the evolution of values regarding sexuality, reproduction, and childbearing, but they have not been a principal cause of contemporary low fertility. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is emerging and having a slight positive impact on fertility in some countries.

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Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Overview Chapter 5: Determinants of family formation and childbearing during the societal transition in Central and Eastern Europe
Volume 19 - Article 7

Overview Chapter 2: Parity distribution and completed family size in Europe: Incipient decline of the two-child family model
Volume 19 - Article 4

Overview Chapter 1: Fertility in Europe: Diverse, delayed and below replacement
Volume 19 - Article 3

Summary and general conclusions: Childbearing Trends and Policies in Europe
Volume 19 - Article 2

Cohort birth order, parity progression ratio and parity distribution trends in developed countries
Volume 16 - Article 11

First birth trends in developed countries: Persisting parenthood postponement
Volume 15 - Article 6

Cohort Reproductive Patterns in the Nordic Countries
Volume 5 - Article 5

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