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During the nineteenth century in the United States, birth rates began to decline, in part due to an increase in scientific information about conception and contraception, or birth control. The average white woman in 1800 gave birth seven times; by 1900, that number dropped to an average of three-and-a-half. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, early stage abortions generally were legal. The use of birth control and abortion, however, declined as growing public opinion considered information about birth control methods to be obscene and abortion to be unsafe.

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