Ideology, Faith, and Family Planning in Latin America: Studies in Public and Private Opinion on Fertility Control

By J. Mayone Stycos | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Case Studies in Public Opinion Formation: Colombia and Brazil

THE FLOWERING OF PUBLIC OPINION: COLOMBIA AND BRAZIL

In the early half of the 1960s the tabooed topic of family planning came into public currency in much of the mass media of Latin America. The liberal reforms in the Catholic Church, the provisional returns of 1960 censuses of population, and the upsurge of world public attention to population problems stimulated the press of Latin America to feature population problems and birth control in editorials, features, and news stories. In so doing, a journalistic tiger was unleashed, for the population problem in Latin America contains some of the most sure-fire ingredients for prolonged public debate-- sex, family morality, economic development, religion, and Yanqui imperialism, not to mention hormones, abortion, and medical gadgetry. Much of this publicity occurred at a time when newly formed family planning organizations would have preferred its absence, for they felt themselves too weak to withstand public attacks. On the other hand, such public attention could not only give technical information to the literate population, but give salience to an issue previously dormant. We have chosen two countries to illustrate

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