Forget population control – all you need is love

Diana Wyndham

Matthew Connelly, Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population, Boston, Harvard University, Belknap Press, 2008 (521 pp). ISBN 9-78067402-423-6 (hard cover) RRP $53.20.

There are good things to be said for coitus interruptus: it is free, the government can’t tax it, the children can’t find it, and there is no need to remember to take it with you on holidays. However, it causes mental and physiological harm and it doesn’t work. Much the same can be said about Matthew Connelly’s conclusion to his critical history of population control, Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population. After grimly depicting the havoc inflicted on the world’s poor by imperious birth controllers and the coercive Catholic Church, he has a dream in which the ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ forces unite ‘to oppose population control of any kind’ (p. 383) and ‘make real the ideal of the global family’ (p. 384). ‘All You Need is Love’ might have been a touching Beatles song in the 1960s, but it is dangerous approach for a historian.

In the nine months since its release, Fatal Misconception has been declared a ‘Book of the Year’ by the Financial Times and a ‘Book of the Year in Science and Technology’ by The Economist. The enormous, and mostly favourable, attention it has received is almost unprecedented for a work by an academic historian. The author is an Associate Professor of History at Columbia University—and proudly the youngest of an eight-child Catholic family. Indeed, he dedicates the book ‘To my parents, for having so many children’.

I began reading Fatal Misconception with enthusiasm; the publisher is prestigious and the author’s multiple awards are listed on his website. The book is also in a field I have worked in and know well. While Connelly was learning to walk, I was buoyed up during the second wave of feminism by books such as Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique (1963). I tackled the constraints Friedan identified as the ‘problem that has no name’ in a society that regarded married women as Brian’s Wife, Jenny’s Mum (Wesson 1975). In the 1970s I worked for the Family Planning Association (FPA) of New South Wales, served on the FPA Board in the 1980s, and won a Bicentennial grant to write Populate and Perish: Australian Women’s Fight for Birth Control with Stefania Siedlecky (1990). In the 1990s I completed a PhD thesis about eugenics, which was published in London by the Galton Institute (formerly the Eugenics Society) in 2003.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed by this much-praised book, mostly because it does not provide an objective history of its fascinating topic. Also galling to a well-informed reader is the author’s claim that ‘This is the first global history of population control’ (p. 10), because it disregards important previous works written by Beryl Suitters (1973), Donald P. Warwick (1982), Betsy Hartman (1987) and Lara Knudsen (2006). Nevertheless, because the topic is so fascinating, and because the stakes in debates over population control and contraception are so high, it is worth engaging with the issues Connelly raises.


Early in the book, Connelly argues that the ‘Neo-Malthusians, eugenicists, pro-natalists all began to organize at the same time’ (p. 9) and that they ‘share a common history’ (xii). This suggests a harmonious coalition but there were fierce battles within and between these groups, and it helps to examine the groups in the context in which they emerged and to discuss their sometimes divergent motivations.

This much-praised book does not provide an objective history of its fascinating topic.

The Reverend Thomas Malthus, who gave his name to ‘Malthusianism’, is a key figure in the history of eugenics and population control. Malthusianism is the view that population tends to increase faster than food supply, with inevitably disastrous results, unless population increases are checked by moral restraints (abstinence from marriage), or by war, famine, and disease. Malthus put forward these ideas in An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798). The ideas gave Darwin ‘a theory by which to work’ and resulted in On the Origin of Species (1859), in which he set out his theory about plant and animal populations evolving over the course of generations through a process of ‘natural selection’.

Darwin’s writing, and its interpretation—some say misinterpretation—by Herbert Spencer prompted the concerns now known as ‘Social Darwinism’, which explains the struggle for existence’ by individuals, groups or nations, resulting in the ‘survival of the fittest’. Debate continues about the value of Social Darwinism, about Charles Darwin’s contributions to the theory, and about whether eugenics should be seen as its most enduring legacy. Although Social Darwinism has been disparaged as the great 19th century fetish, in America, Britain and Australia it was eagerly invoked to justify struggle and competition. Among other ideas, it supplied the philosophical basis for the theory that war was inherent in nature and ennobling, with the result, in Barbara Tuchman’s (1978) sarcastic opinion, that ‘Darwinism became the White Man’s Burden … [and with it] Imperialism acquired a moral imperative’.

The Malthusian League established Britain’s Neo-Malthusian birth control movement in 1877. This ‘secular, utilitarian, individualistic’ organisation was the first in the world to ‘promote popular acceptance and, in fact, state coercion of family limitation’ as the solution to poverty (Ledbetter, pp. xii, xiv). Dr Charles V. Drysdale was the League’s first president and he extended Malthus’ proposition in his book Neo-Malthusianism and Eugenics, in which he outlined the group’s tenets: ‘No parents should have more children than they can adequately feed, clothe, and educate. No one having definite hereditary defects should have children, but if they are sufficiently responsible they may marry so long as they do not reproduce’ (1912, p. 8).

Francis Galton re-introduced eugenic proposals in the 19th century but their roots stretch back to Plato, the Greek philosopher who set criteria for citizens in an ideal state. The word eugenics is Greek for ‘well born’, which is something all parents want and foetal screening is now offered routinely in the West and medical teams help couples decide the outcome in case of abnormalities. This is totally different from the eugenic view that individuals should have large or small families (or none at all) to suit the needs of God, king or country. In 1874 Galton sparked a debate between those who believe that improving the environment (nurture) will have a genetic benefit because acquired characteristics would be passed on, and those who believe that heredity (nature) is predominantly or solely responsible for individual or population characteristics. At this time, little was known about the modern science of genetics. Galton expanded on his views in 1883 and, in 1904, announced his plan to promote eugenics as a new ‘science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race; also with those that develop them to the utmost advantage’ (p. 1). He was one of many thinkers who believed that the industrial revolution had ‘tilled the ground’ in which the eugenics ‘seed’ germinated: progressives in many developed countries called for ‘human betterment’ in the belief that, just as science and industry had developed economic efficiency, it was now time for the state to develop schemes of positive eugenics (to produce more ‘fit’ people) and negative eugenics (to reduce or eliminate mentally, morally or physically ‘unfit’ people) to counter the impact of medical advances and ‘indiscriminate charity’ which allowed the ‘unfit’ to outnumber the ‘fit’.

Thomas Malthus is a key figure in the history of eugenics and population control..

In Australia, Billy Hughes urged this form of pronatalism in his slogan ‘Australia must populate or perish’, which was a reference to the ‘Yellow Peril’ fear that without a massive population increase, Australia risked an Asian invasion. Many in Western countries feared that ‘Racial Poisons’ (venereal disease, prostitution, tuberculosis, alcoholism and feeble-mindedness) would cause ‘Racial Decay’. This would lead to ‘Racial Suicide’; bad ‘traits’ or ‘tendencies’ would become progressively worse in each generation until the affected individual, family or groups became extinct. These were major concerns in the early 20th century after President Theodore Roosevelt gave high-level support for the view that this racial decay and suicide could jeopardise the future of the white races (Wyndham 2003).

Australia’s early political and social developments reflect eugenic and progressive goals to increase national efficiency through state intervention in programs such as a quarantine service, improved sanitation, town planning schemes, attempts to increase the birthrate and programs to eradicate venereal diseases (VD). Eugenists worried that infection from sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, would cause ‘sterilisation of the fit’ because women would become sterile, suffer miscarriages or have stillbirths and many infants would die from congenital syphilis; moralists claimed that VD was Divine retribution for ‘the Sins of the Fathers’ because at that time were contagious, incurable and usually fatal (causing panic similar to that expressed in the 1980s when AIDS did not respond to modern medicine).

Between 1870 and 1930 the size of Australian families shrank for social and economic reasons, despite the unreliability of most contraceptive methods, the lack of clinics and the hostility of politicians, clergy and the medical profession. So concerned were the authorities that, in 1904, an alarmed New South Wales government called a Royal Commission to investigate the declining birthrate. Two pronatalist responses were the immediate introduction of baby health centres and the introduction of a £5 baby bonus in 1912.

In 1921 the newly-established Commonwealth Department of Health provided additional measures to help stamp out venereal disease, produce healthy families and increase the population; in 1925 and 1944 the federal government held enquiries to counter the threats to national survival posed by VD, a falling birth rate and a high maternal and infant death rate. People were starting to see that it was no use having a high birth rate if the babies did not survive. Yet the connection between eugenics and contraception was weak: despite governments’ eugenic orientations, Australian women had to fight hard for birth control; information and contraceptives were hard to obtain, abortion was illegal. Even in the 1960s, many doctors refused to prescribe ‘the Pill’ because ‘it would encourage promiscuity’ and there was no federal government support for family planning until 1972.


Concerns about a population’s quality and quantity have a long history; Plato and Aristotle discussed the optimum sizes for Greek city states and how best to achieve them. The methods chosen to manage population size and quality are strongly influenced by religious and cultural beliefs and these include abstinence, contraception, abortion, infanticide and increasing emigration and decreasing immigration.

Concerns about a population’s quality and quantity have a long history.

The modern population control movement became active in the 1960s and 1970s when many Europeans and Americans accepted the proposition, made by the American entomologist Paul Ehrlich in his best-seller The Population Bomb (1968), that the world was heading for a ‘population explosion’ disaster. In the 1980s tensions developed between feminist health activists, who saw birth control as a human rights issue and population control activists (mostly economists and demographers, and mostly male) who argued that unrestricted population growth would cause problems such as poverty, famine, civil unrest, genocide and environmental degradation. However, the media started publishing stories about the harmful results of population control programs in developing countries. This led to a significant switch in the early 1990s away from coercive programs to a focus on women’s health programs, which Lara Knudsen (2006) highlights in her examination of the benefits of such delivery in two developed and five developing countries.

Connelly’s own contribution to this history is unsatisfying. He writes that he is ‘late to this fight’ and that his book reflects ‘the passion of a convert’ (p. xiii). Perhaps this explains some of the gaps in his knowledge. For instance, he says the ruthless methods used by Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and the USSR in population control programs ‘inspired others to develop more appealing alternatives. Sweden showed how a welfare state could instead promote family planning both at home and abroad’ (pp. 10–11). This is one of the few positive comments Connelly makes about family planning programs. Unfortunately, he chose a poor example and one which, if he had known, would support his anti-population control argument. Sweden is not the liberal paragon he imagines: in one of the most devastating scandals to shake modern Sweden, it was revealed in 1997 that 63,000 ‘unfit’ Swedes had been forcibly sterilised, used for experiments, lobotomised or even killed between 1935 and 1975 in efforts to perfect Swedish stock. By 2003 the Swedish government had provided $34,000 compensation per person to 200 victims and this was not the final settlement (Wyndham 2003, p. 1).


The modern family planning movement has its roots in eugenics and the struggles of the 19th century Neo-Malthusian pioneers. Although many in the English-speaking world know the stories of Marie Stopes in Britain and Margaret Sanger in America, the history of birth control is not so well known. In the 1920s, some people believed the rationale for birth control was health, economics or eugenics, but most of the movement’s early advocates were feminists who saw it as a necessary step for women’s emancipation and one which would reduce women’s suffering and provide satisfaction, healthy motherhood and a new, better relationships within marriage. They were opposed by pronatalist groups including ‘Purity Feminists’ who called for ‘family values not debauchery’ and argued that condoms would spread venereal disease by encouraging vice. Proponents of family planning held a series of international conferences in the 1920s and 1930s, and formed alliances with like-minded bodies such as the World League for Sexual Reform, in which Europe’s intellectual elite of both sexes discussed many topics, including birth control. Britain’s first two birth control clinics were opened in 1921: by Marie Stopes and, later that year, by the Malthusian League whose fight for birth control started much earlier.

Connelly mentions the trials of two prominent Neo-Malthusians, ‘the freethinkers and socialists Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh’ (pp. 18–19) and there is an interesting postscript to his story: Besant’s birth control pamphlet The Law of Population (1877) was not legally challenged in Britain, but it was in Australia in 1888 when Justice W.C. Windeyer gave his famous judgment: ‘Information cannot be pure, chaste and legal in morocco [leather] at a guinea, but impure, obscene and indictable in a paper pamphlet at six pence’ (Windeyer). This example does not fit Connelly’s view of the bad rich coercing the good poor but it was an instance of a rich civil libertarian judge helping the poor and his humane action has been replicated by many birth control pioneers.

In America numerous birth control proposals were made in the 19th century.

In America numerous birth control proposals were made in the 19th century but the climate changed in 1873 when the ‘Comstock’ bill was passed, making it illegal to disseminate information about birth control. Connelly says incorrectly ‘Prosecutors and judges across the United States showed great reluctance in enforcing the Comstock laws against contraceptives’ (p. 44). He then contradicts himself by saying Sanger had to flee the country because she ‘defied the Comstock Law’ by publishing contraceptive information in her newspaper and sending it through the mail (p. 51). The impact of the harsh Comstock Law has been compared with Prohibition: it shackled individuals and publishers for 65 years until the 1938 court decision that contraception was a constitutional right of married Americans.

Despite Connelly’s dislike for all international organisations, he likes the actions of one of two such groups which held conferences in 1931 (p. 77). He criticises Margaret Sanger’s World Population Conference in Zurich for being ‘sharply divided’ about whether to include abortion in its definition of birth control and he praises the congress the World League for Sex (sic) Reform held in Vienna, which attracted ‘roughly a thousand’ delegates, ‘ten times as many as were in Zurich’. He admires the League for agreeing on policies and setting a ‘broader, and braver agenda’. However, he was backing the losers: Sanger was wise to avoid the divisive issue of abortion and to focus instead on a single achievable goal: the Zurich Conference was not the end for the birth control movement but it was for the World League for Sexual Reform, whose unrealistic aim, to be all things to all people and reform all aspects of life, was bound to fail. The WLSR’s Vienna Congress was a defiant last fling and it disbanded in 1935.

In the 1930s there was an uneasy relationship between the birth control and eugenics movements because conservative eugenists feared that contraceptive use would lead to a decline in ‘good births’ because only the well-educated would use it. The relationship was improved by the influence of the liberal-minded Dr C.P. Blacker, a psychiatrist and a stalwart of the Eugenics Society. However, Connelly scorns ‘crypto-eugenics’, the tactic used by Blacker ‘to fulfill the aims of eugenics without disclosing what you are really aiming at and without mentioning the word’ (p. 163). He criticises this ‘psychologist [sic] and future leader of International Planned Parenthood’ (p. 56) for using ‘the British Eugenics Society’s considerable financial resources to promote a broad range of research, from genetics to social planning’ (pp. 106–107). But this breadth was actually a good thing; the Eugenics Society, because of its interest in heredity, helped to foster research in human genetics, supported by a 1930 bequest from Henry Twitchin, a pastoralist who made his fortune in Western Australia (Wyndham 2003, pp. 95–102). At this time eugenics was respectable but family planning was not: in Australia the Family Planning Association was called the Racial Hygiene Association (RHA) until 1960, because eugenics sounded scientific and served as ‘a large umbrella’ under which the RHA could do ‘lots of things’ which were ‘outside their charter’ (Wyndham 2003, p. 139). It was not till the 1970s that its birth control clinics dared to provide contraception to unmarried women and initially, to avoid hostile attacks, they were forced to say they did not give it to healthy married women but only to those who suffered from TB, had a syphilitic husband or risked death in childbirth.


So how does Matthew Connelly respond to and extend this history, and what does he propose? The excesses of the 1970s coercive population control programs are appalling and Connelly is rightly shocked by the Dalkon Shield scandal in which, despite paying compensation to American women, the company kept supplying this intrauterine device for use in the third world. However, this did not indicate ‘a humanitarian movement gone terribly awry’; it shows that without government controls, unscrupulous companies flood poor countries with illegal and dangerous goods, such as harmful pharmaceuticals, tainted food, alcohol, cigarettes and junk food, or indulge in unethical marketing tactics such as those used in the Nestlé baby milk scandal.

The birth control
and eugenics movements had an uneasy relationship
in the 1930s.

In saying ‘Malthusians … always offered the same diagnosis and the same bitter medicine’ (p. 44) Connelly reveals his bias and, by dismissing the achievements of the movement’s pioneers, makes an oblique attack on modern family planning and overlooks the successes and the health and hope these services can provide. He highlights the side effects of contraception without acknowledging the greater risks women face by not using them. An African delegate at the 1985 UN Decade for Women Conference said about her use of Depo Provera: ‘It might harm me in my old age but without it I won’t have an old age’. In an attack on the global organisation whose mandate ‘is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health’, Connelly uses doublespeak: ‘The very name—World Health Organization—was meant to indicate that it would be a global and not merely an international endeavour’ (p. 147) as though this was bad. He does not mention the WHO succeeded in eliminating smallpox in 1980, co-ordinates international efforts to monitor outbreaks of infectious diseases and sponsors preventive and treatment programs by developing and distributing safe and effective vaccines and drugs. Nor does he applaud the world’s largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programs, the United Nations Population Fund, which through its International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action aims, by the year 2015, to provide universal access to reproductive health services and primary education; reduce maternal mortality by 75 per cent; reduce infant mortality, increase life expectancy and reduce HIV infection rates in the 15–24 age group by 25 per cent, initially in the most-affected countries and by 25 per cent globally by 2010.

Connelly considers ‘a range of different “crises”, including epidemic diseases, migrant flows, and climate change’ (p. 380) and is particularly critical of the ‘global AIDS crisis’ (the quotation marks implying there is no crisis or it is not global) and he claims that global campaigns against it are not encouraging because their ‘standardized approaches … override merely local concerns’. He ignores the facts that decision-makers in many poor countries do very little (those in South Africa denied AIDS is caused by HIV) and that, without international pressure, reluctant governments and religious leaders will not act. On his March 2009 African tour the Pope claimed ‘distributing condoms only aggravated the problems caused by the condition’ (Pisa 2009). The huge storm of protest forced the Pope to ‘clarify’ his comments: he was merely restating the church’s opposition to condoms and its support for abstinence as being an effective preventive measure. The World Health Organization responded: ‘These incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million’ and that ‘consistent and correct’ condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90 per cent.

In his book In the Name of Eugenics Daniel Kevles (1995) has shown the good and bad things attributed to eugenics and the same applies to birth control and the medical profession. It is easy to find examples of medical incompetence, negligence and cover-ups. In the 1950s and 60s prescribing Thalidomide to pregnant women caused infant deaths and deformities; in the 1960s and 70s patients died from Deep Sleep therapy at Australia’s Chelmsford Private Hospital and in the 1980s there were global scandals when people became infected with the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) from contaminated blood transfusions. Lessons were learned from these errors: after Thalidomide there were new standards for the testing and release of drugs; after Chelmsford, health authorities implemented strict guidelines for psychiatric practice and after the AIDS scandals, blood tests for HIV were developed to ensure that blood transfusions are safe. Connelly says ‘population control is history’ but organised population control is not ‘over’, nor should it be and substituting the words ‘medical services’ shows why. There have been medical disasters, but doctors provide useful services and it would be foolish to boycott the profession because of mistakes or malpractice. The same applies to family planning. Connelly implies that all reproductive health services are coercive and calls for a population control boycott in a very selective, warts-only picture: there were horrific excesses such as forcing men to undergo vasectomies in Kerala and forcing women to have late-stage abortions in China.

There is wisdom in
the family planning slogan: ‘Hope is not
a method’.

‘Pro-life’ groups, armed with this kind of evidence, pressured Ronald Reagan to initiate the 1984 ‘Mexico City policy’ (the ‘Global Gag Rule’) which withdrew US support from all UN-related aid groups that might offer abortion or counseling that might lead to it, even if the funding came from sources outside the US government (Rasky 1984). Bill Clinton reversed the decision and George W. Bush brought it back in 2001, with the proviso that family planning funds would only go to groups who advocated sexual abstinence. On 23 January 2009, his second day in office, Barak Obama issued a statement ‘On Rescinding the Mexico City Policy’ saying:

For too long, international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of back and forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate. It is time that we end the politicization of this issue. In the coming weeks, my Administration will initiate a fresh conversation on family planning, working to find areas of common ground to best meet the needs of women and families at home and around the world.

Two months after Obama made his rescission statement, and shortly before Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s first meeting with the new president, Rudd admitted to the Labor caucus he ‘backed but did not personally support’ the Australian decision, announced by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on 10 March 2009, to axe the 13-year ban of foreign aid being used to fund safer abortions for women in poor countries; it had been imposed by John Howard to secure the vote of Brian Harradine, a Tasmanian independent senator with firmly-held conservative Roman Catholic views (O’Malley 2009). Rudd acknowledged a clear majority of Labor politicians had backed the change in which Australia’s foreign aid focus would be to prevent abortions by providing better family planning education and avoid the deaths of an estimated 68,000 women each year from unsafe abortions, leaving 220,000 motherless children.


Extreme positions are easy to spot; such as the Roman Catholic church’s ban on what it calls ‘artificial contraception’ and abortion and the rabid attack on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America by the televangelist George Grant (2000) in a book which claims to be ‘the best-selling pro-life book of all time’. Similarly, in abortion debates opponents stress the rights of the foetus and those in favour emphasise women’s rights. Connelly is more sophisticated; he is highly qualified (as a historian) and appears to approve of contraception or abortion. But ultimately, this seems to be crypto-liberalism: while he upholds an individual woman’s right to make such decisions, he disapproves of campaigns and health services which aim to give all women the right to choose if and when to have children.

Connelly’s apparent balance—he opposes both pro- and anti-population control excesses—means he is more likely to reach and convince a broader audience to accept his argument that global population control services are bad and should cease. A major worry is that this book’s catalogue of failed population control programs will be used by ‘Pro-life’ groups who want to reinstate the 1984 Mexico City policy ban which, by denying aid, spread sexually transmitted diseases and increased pregnancy-related deaths. If, as he believes, ‘the heroic age of population control is over’ (p. 16), life on this planet will end because there is only a finite supply of water, food and natural resources. There is wisdom in the family planning slogan: ‘Hope is not a method’.


Connelly, M. 2006, ‘Seeing beyond the state: The population control movement and the problem of sovereignty’, Past and Present, no. 193, November, pp. 197–233.

Drysdale, C.V. 1912, Neo-Malthusianism and Eugenics, William Bell, London.

Ehrlich, P. 1968, The Population Bomb, Ballantine, New York.

Friedan, B. 1963, The Feminine Mystique, W.W. Norton and Company, New York.

Galton, F. 1904, ‘Eugenics: Its definition, scope, and aims’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1–25.

Grant, G. 2000, Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood, 4th edn, Cumberland House, Tennessee.

Hartman, B. 1987, Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control and Contraceptive Choice, Harper and Row, New York.

Kevles, D.J. 1995, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity, 2nd edn, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London.

Knudsen, L. 2006, Reproductive Rights in a Global Context, Vanderbilt University Press, Tennessee.

Ledbetter, R. 1976, A History of the Malthusian League, 18771927, Ohio State University Press, Columbus.

O’Malley, S. 2009, ‘Government ends foreign aid ban on abortions’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 March.

Pisa, N. 2009, ‘Pope says condoms only aggravate AIDS problem’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 March.

Rasky, S.F., 1984, ‘Reagan restrictions on foreign aid for abortion leads to a fight’, The New York Times, 14 October, p. 20.

Siedlecky, S. & Wyndham, D. 1990, Populate and Perish: Australian Women’s Fight for Birth Control, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Wellington, London, Boston.

Suitters, B. 1973, Be Brave and Angry: Chronicles of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, International Planned Parenthood Federation, London.

Tuchman, B. 1978, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, Knopf, New York.

Warwick, D.P. 1982, Bitter Pills: Population Policies and Their Implementation in Eight Developing Countries, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Wesson, G. 1975, Brian’s Wife, Jenny’s Mum, Dove Communications, East Malvern, Vic.

Windeyer, W. 1889, Ex Parte Collins. A Judgment by W C Windeyer, LL D, Senior Puisine Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, MacLardy, Printer, Sydney, p. 11.

Wyndham, D. 2003, Eugenics in Australia: Striving for National Fitness, The Galton Institute, London.

Diana Wyndham has a Masters Degree in Librarianship and a PhD in history from The University of Sydney; she was awarded a Norman Haire Fellowship by the University’s Faculty of Medicine and is currently writing Norman Haire’s biography. She is a member of the Professional Historians Association and has interests in birth control, eugenics, health and the history of medicine.