Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A history of the birth control pill



The pill: a history

1916: Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, opens first birth control clinic in the United States.

1941: Penn State organic chemist Russell Marker discovers how to make synthetic progestin from a Mexican yam, the basis for hormonal birth control.

1950s: Sanger and philanthropist Katharine Dexter McCormick, both in their 70s, underwrite research for a "magic pill.'' They turn to scientist Gregory Pincus, who teams with pioneering Harvard ob/gyn Dr. John Rock.

1956: Clinical trials of the pill begin in Puerto Rico, to get around anti birth control laws in many states.

1957: FDA approves use of the pill to regulate menstrual periods, although many women take it for birth control.

May 9, 1960: Advisory committee of the FDA approves the drug — called Enovid — for contraception. Full approval by the FDA follows on June 23.

1965: Pill is legal in all states when U.S. Supreme Court decides in Griswold vs. Connecticut that married couples may use birth control without government interference.

1970: U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wis., holds hearings into the pill's safety and whether women understand the risks, contributing to FDA requiring an information insert in packages.

1970: President Richard M. Nixon signs Title X of the Public Health Services Act, providing federal funding for family planning services including the pill.

1972: U.S. Supreme Court decision in Eisenstadt vs. Baird legalizes contraception for unmarried people.

1988: At the FDA's urging, drug companies remove the original high-dose oral contraceptives from the market, which had gradually been supplanted by safer, lower-dose formulations.

1990: According to the annual FDA Consumer report, the pill is considered safe and effective by the government, the medical establishment and consumers.

Today: Nearly 19 percent of all women between 15 and 44 use the pill, or nearly 30 percent of all women who use birth control.

Sources: Planned Parenthood, PBS.org

A history of the birth control pill 05/05/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 3:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Amid FBI probe of Tallahassee, Gillum says GOP trying to 'put as much dirt on me as they can'

    Blogs

    Tallahassee mayor and candidate for governor Andrew Gillum might like his supporters to think a federal investigation into development deals in his city is political – but …

    Andrew Gillum
  2. Tampa pedestrian struck, killed near Temple Terrace

    Accidents

    A Tampa woman was killed Saturday night after she was hit by a car while walking near Temple Terrace.

  3. Snell to rejoin rotation Wednesday

    Blogs

     

  4. Illegal sign patrol on a mission to clean up Hillsborough streets

    Human Interest

    BRANDON --Jim Reed, rifling through the back of his Nissan Pathfinder, picks out a sign.

     Citizen volunteers, Reed and Bill Staley take down illegal roadside signs for county code enforcement.  CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  5. Video: Crowd catches teen falling from Six Flags ride

    Nation

    QUEENSBURY, N.Y. — A teenager fell about 25 feet (about 8 meters) from a stopped gondola ride at an upstate New York amusement park Saturday night, tumbling into a crowd of park guests and employees gathered below to catch her before she hit the ground.

    A teenager fell from a stopped gondola ride at Six Flags in upstate New York. [FACEBOOK VIA LOREN LENT]