Carol Downer (1933– )
Carol Downer was a reproductive health and abortion
rights activist in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the US and other countries. During the late 1960s, many women reported knowing little about female anatomy and receiving little information from their physicians. Downer advocated for women’s reproductive anatomy education and encouraged women to not rely on the intervention of a medical doctor for all reproductive issues. Downer demonstrated how to perform a vaginal self-examination to many women and taught women around the world how to provide safer in-home abortions when abortions were illegal. Downer helped start clinics throughout California which provided some of the first legal abortions in the US.
The Shettles Method of Sex Selection
In the 1960s in the United States Landrum B. Shettles developed the Shettles method, which is a procedure for couples to use prior to and during an intercourse to increase their chances of conceiving a fetus
of their desired sex. Shettles, a physician, who specialized in obstetrics and gynecology, found a difference in the size and shape of male sperm
cells that he correlated with the different sex chromosomes they carry. Based on that finding, Shettles developed procedures for couples to follow based on whether they desire a female or a male fetus
and published them in the 1970 book, Your Baby’s Sex: Now You Can Choose
“Misericordia et Misera” Section 12 (2016) by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church Misericordia et Misera
(Mercy with Misery) was a letter written by Pope Francis and published in Rome, Italy, on 20 November 2016. Through the letter, Pope Francis gives priests the ability to grant forgiveness for abortion
. Before Pope Francis’s letter, priests had some ability to grant forgiveness for the Catholic sin of abortion
, but bishops had to grant that ability to the priests individually. Prior to the letter, the official rules of the Catholic Church did not state that priests could forgive abortion
“Maternal Stress Responses and Anxiety During Pregnancy: Effects on Fetal Heart Rate” (2000), by Catherine Monk, William Fifer, Michael Myers, Richard Sloan, Leslie Trien, and Alicia Hurtado
In 2000, Catherine Monk, William Fifer, Michael Myers, Richard Sloan, Leslie Trien, and Alicia Hurtado published “Maternal stress responses and anxiety during pregnancy
: Effects on fetal heart rate,” hereafter "Maternal stress: Effects on fetal heart rate," in which the authors conducted a study on how pregnant women’s stress and anxiety affects the health of their fetuses. Previous studies had shown that stress and anxiety during pregnancy
could cause fetal abnormalities.
“Delayed Breastfeeding Initiation Increases Risk of Neonatal Mortality” (2006), by Karen Edmond et al.
In March 2006, scientists from Ghana and the UK Karen Edmond, Charles Zandoh, Maria Quigley, Seeba Amenga-Etego, Seth Oqusi-Agyei, and Betty Kirkwood published their findings that early, consistent breastfeeding habits for mothers in Ghana resulted in better survival outcomes for their infants. The authors communicated those results in the paper “Delayed Breastfeeding Initiation Increases Risk of Neonatal Mortality,” or “Delayed Breastfeeding,” published in The American Academy of Pediatrics
. “Delayed Breastfeeding” was one of the first studies to examine the connection between early, consistent breastfeeding habits and infant survival.
Genetics and IVF Institute, GIVF
In 1984, human genetics and reproduction researcher and physician Joseph D. Schulman founded the Genetics and IVF Institute, an international organization
that provides infertility
treatment and genetic services to patients. IVF stands for in vitro fertilization
, an infertility
treatment in which a female egg
is fertilized by male sperm
outside of the female body.
“Miscarriage of Medicine: The Growth of Catholic Hospitals and the Threat to Reproductive Health Care” (2013), by Lois Uttley, Sheila Reynertson, Larraine Kenny, and Louise Melling
In 2013, Lois Uttley, Sheila Reynertson, Larraine Kenny, and Louise Melling published “Miscarriage of Medicine: The Growth of Catholic Hospitals and the Threat to Reproductive Health Care,” in which they analyzed the growth of Catholic hospitals in the United States from 2001 to 2011 and the impact those hospitals had on reproductive health care. In the US, Catholic hospitals are required to abide by the US Catholic Church's Ethical Guidelines for Health Care Providers, also called the Directives.
40 Weeks (2014)
In 2014, Big Belli, a media and social networking brand, released a documentary called 40 Weeks
online. The documentary, directed by Christopher Henze, follows multiple women during their pregnancies. The film predominantly features three women, though it includes the stories of many. Throughout the film, women detail their accounts of physical and emotional changes that occurred during their pregnancies. 40 Weeks
provides viewers with information about different aspects of pregnancy
including the importance of nutrition and hydration, knowledge about safe medications, and the possible complications that can affect a pregnant woman and her fetus
“Guideline for the Study and Evaluation of Gender Differences in the Clinical Evaluation of Drugs” (July 1993), by the United States Food and Drug Administration
The US Food and Drug Administration
, or FDA, published the “Guideline for the Study and Evaluation of Gender Differences in the Clinical Evaluation of Drugs,” henceforth “Study of Gender Differences,” in July 1993. The document defined acceptable practices for investigators studying new drugs.
Jesse Bennett (1769–1842)
Jesse Bennett, sometimes spelled Bennet, practiced medicine in the US during the late eighteenth century and performed one of the first successful cesarean operations, later called cesarean sections, in 1794. Following complications during his wife’s childbirth, Bennett made an incision through her lower abdomen and uterus
to deliver their infant. Bennett’s biographers report that his operation was the first cesarean section where both the pregnant woman and the infant survived. Previously, physicians used cesarean sections to save the fetus
from a pregnant woman who had already died during childbirth.