During the 1920 's, families became more affluent, which resulted in healthier children and higher education rates among females. As women such as Elizabeth Blackwell began filing into colleges and medical institutions, they would marry later and have fewer children as a result. Many believed this to be “race suicide” in that women had spent “years in school and became smart which was believed to be an unnatural mode in life”3 which made physicians nervous because they thought it would lead to the “deterioration of American womanhood”.4 It was pioneering women such as Blackwell who would take the first powerful step into women 's liberation even as male physicians told women that “it 's not good to know too much”.5
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...25 Birth control was also thought to reduce breast cancer in females which during the 1970 's had become an all out war on breast cancer. The war was “a personal struggle that took its toll on patients, family and friends”.26
Much like birth control, the HPT was empowering to women in that it could be performed in the privacy of one 's home. The home pregnancy test was first introduced in 1972 by scientists at NIH who were searching for cancer associated with hCG and included a test filled with “droppers and a test tube and required women to faithfully follow a nine step procedure”27 and “next to the thermometer, the home pregnancy test has become the most widely used diagnostic device in North America and much of the Western World”.28
Consumerism would play an important role in the history of women 's health.
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