The first large-scale scientific test of family planning took place in Khanna, India, beginning in the early 1950s. Backed by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers asked 8,000 villagers how often they had sex, whether they wanted to conceive and the details of the women’s menstrual cycles.
The researchers met the villagers monthly and provided contraceptives, while closely monitoring another group that was given no contraceptives. After five years, the women given contraceptives had a higher birth rate than those who hadn’t received any assistance.
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