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Use of measures designed to regulate the number and spacing of children within a family, largely to curb population growth and ensure each familys access to limited resources. The first attempts to offer family planning services began with private groups and often aroused strong opposition. Activists such as Margaret Sanger in the U.S., Marie Stopes in England, and Dhanvanthis Rama Rau in India eventually succeeded in establishing clinics for family planning and health care. Today many countries have established national policies and encourage the use of public family services. The United Nations and the World Health Organization offer technical assistance. See alsobirth control.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on family planning, visit Britannica.com.