A History of Family Planning in Twentieth-Century Peru

By Raúl Necochea López

248 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 6 figures, 1 table, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1808-1
    Published: October 2014
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1809-8
    Published: October 2014

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Adding to the burgeoning study of medicine and science in Latin America, this important book offers a comprehensive historical perspective on the highly contentious issues of sexual and reproductive health in an important Andean nation. Raúl Necochea López approaches family planning as a historical phenomenon layered with medical, social, economic, and moral implications. At stake in this complex mix were new notions of individual autonomy, the future of gender relations, and national prosperity.

The implementation of Peru's first family planning programs led to a rapid professionalization of fertility control. Complicating the evolution of associated medical services were the conflicting agendas of ordinary citizens, power brokers from governmental and military sectors, clergy, and international health groups. While family planning promised a greater degree of control over individuals' intimate lives, as well as opportunities for economic improvement through the effective management of birth rates, the success of attempts to regulate fertility was far from assured. Today, Necochea López observes, although the quality of family planning resources in Peru has improved, services remain far from equitably available.

About the Author

Raúl Necochea López is assistant professor of social medicine and adjunct assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about Raúl Necochea López, visit the Author Page.


“An ambitious book that approaches sweeping questions of public health and population growth in Latin America through the history of family planning in twentieth-century Peru.”--American Historical Review

"This excellent study presents the complexity of the subject of family planning."--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“The author successfully navigates . . . overlapping layers of social, political and economic interest, and interprets Peruvian experience in its particularities but also within the patterns that emerged in Latin American-U.S. relations. . . . A highly engaging contribution to the robust yet growing recent literature on the social history of medicine in Latin America.”--Medical History

“Contributes to the histories of Latin America, medicine, and sexuality and reproduction. Of particular interest to scholars should be Necochea’s revelation of the centrality of individuals, their relationships, and the emotions implicated in these in the development of family planning initiatives.”--Bulletin of the History of Medicine

“A wonderful achievement and a welcome addition to the scholarly literature on reproduction, gender, the state, society, and governance in modern Latin America.”--Canadian Journal of History

"This excellent study breaks new ground on an important topic that is not well understood for any Latin American country. Featuring a broad timeframe and regional and international dynamics that illuminate constantly intersecting relationships, the book incorporates social and cultural factors that make Raúl Necochea López's contribution to the history of policy even richer and more interesting."--Julia Rodriguez, University of New Hampshire

Multimedia & Links

Read: An interview with the author at the blog HCS-Manguinhos. (12/9/2014)