FDA Approves the Birth Control Pill (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: An oral contraceptive changes both women’s lives and larger social structures is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Summary of Event
Attempts to prevent conception and the desire to control reproduction have existed in medicine and society for thousands of years. Prior to twentieth century developments in birth control technology, contraception was the primary responsibility of the male. Use of the condom to prevent the spread of syphilis was first described in 1564. By the 1720’s, condoms were used for contraception in Europe. Female contraception historically involved various violent gestures, ingestion of potions thought to have magical properties, or the insertion of vaginal plugs and solutions, some with a spermicidal effect. Pessaries and sponges were among the oldest contraceptive devices for use by women. The cervical cap and diaphragm were developed during the nineteenth century as a result of social changes and attitude shifts in England, Germany, and France. Other forces, such as industrialization, urbanization, and the democratization of contraceptive knowledge, resulted in the less privileged gaining knowledge that formerly was only within the reach of the upper class. The European influence spread to the United States, and an effort was mounted to educate the general population about contraception. Pioneers in birth control and women’s rights, such as Margaret Sanger,...
(The entire section is 1686 words.)
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