Human beings have practised birth control throughout history. However, in
19th-century Canada, this practice was largely forbidden or taboo. It was only
in the 1920s that groups of citizens formed to defend birth control. The information,
services and products related to this practice became increasingly accessible after
the war. During the 1960s, Canada decriminalized contraception and abortion. In the 1970s, the number of
organizations and services promoting access to contraception and family
planning began to increase. From then on, birth control became an integral part
of the public health approach to sexual health.
On 6 December 1989, a man entered a mechanical engineering classroom at Montreal’s École Polytechnique armed with a semi-automatic weapon. After separating the women from the men, he opened fire on the women while screaming, “You are all feminists.” Fourteen young women were murdered, and 13 other people were wounded. The shooter then turned the gun on himself. In his suicide note, he blamed feminists for ruining his life. The note contained a list of 19 “radical feminists” who he said would have been killed had he not run out of time. It included the names of well-known women in Quebec, including journalists, television personalities and union leaders.
Biology and the laws and customs of human culture together govern the nature of human childhood. The ways in which biology and culture come together in children change over time; the story of these changes forms the history of childhood.