Birth Control Pill

     Generations of women have lived with the task of controlling the childbearing
process. In 1960, the Food and Drug Administration approved the birth control
pill. The approval of the pill was a great event for women. The birth control
pill not only prevents pregnancy, it also treats several feminine disorders.

Before the birth control pill, many women turned to illegal or self-performed
abortion. In 1973 abortion was made legal by the case of Roe Vs. Wade. These
events have become a great privilege for women, but neither prevents A.I.D.S. or
other diseases. In 1916, the birth control movement was established by a public
health nurse name Margaret Sanger. Sanger opened up the first birth control
clinic in New York. This clinic informed women about deciding to become mothers
and when. It also provided education to women about existing birth control
methods. The idea of a womanís right to control her own body and her own
sexuality, gave a new outlook to family planning. Sanger recorded in her
autobiography: "Every day the little waiting room was crowded. Women came from
the far end of Long Island (the press having the spread the word), from

Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. They came to learn the"secret" which they thought was possessed by the rich and denied to the
poor." (Asbell 44) According to Bernard Asbell, the state of New York charged

Sanger with illegal distribution of contraceptive information and forced Sanger
to close the clinic (45). In 1951, Sanger and Katharine McCormick, an heir to
the International Harvester fortune, wanted a simple and a more efficient form
of a contraceptive. Sanger went to Gregory Pincus, a researcher at the Worcester

Foundation for Experimental Biology, with their idea. Pincus had been receiving
funds from the Planned Parenthood Federation to study mammalian egg, but it was
not enough to develop a hormonal contraceptive (Asbell 59). It was an $180,000
contribution from McCormick that funded adequate research development for a
hormonal contraceptive. By 1955, Pincus, a Harvard gynecologist named John Rock,
and graduate student Min Chueh Chang had found a way to keep a woman from
conceiving. The team of three came up with a progestogen pill that would keep a
woman from ovulating; therefore she could not get pregnant. This pill was called
the birth control pill and was approved by the Food and Drug administration in

1960. S. Snider reports that the birth control pill "was a major medical
achievement that rewrote the future of women and family life. For the first time
in history, it became possible for a woman to safely and effectively control
childbearing by taking a pill (4). Although the pill was a wonderful success, it
wasnít long before health officials raised concerns about serious side
affects. Fears of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke, caused exhaustive
research on oral contraceptives in the 60ís and 70ís. The health risks are
not as large due to the low-dose birth control pills on the market today (Snider

5). The birth control pill does not only prevent pregnancies, but it also helps
control some diseases and other medical problems. Many women that have an
irregular menstrual cycle take the pill to keep their cycle normal. The pill has
also proven to help women who have endometriosis. In 1973, the Supreme Court
ruled case of Roe vs. Wade to legalized abortion. Since there has been health
scares about the pill abortion has seem to become the other alternative to
contraception. Some teenagers and women abuse abortion as a form of birth