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See Inside December 2005

Birth-Control Conspiracy?

Many blacks believe that whites want to keep their numbers down.

A surprising number of African-Americans believe the government is trying to keep them in check through birth control. Public health researchers Sheryl Thorburn of Oregon State University and Laura M. Bogart of Rand Corporation surveyed 500 African-Americans across the U.S. They found that 34 percent agreed that “whites want to keep the numbers of black people down.” And 14 percent thought that “the government is trying to limit the black population by encouraging the use of condoms.”

Many of the respondents also believed government and health care organizations are lying about the side effects of birth-control methods. Together these views may make African-Americans less likely to use certain protective measures.

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