How The Approval Of The Birth Control Pill 60 Years Ago Helped Change LivesHistorians in the News
tags: sexuality, contraception, birth control
It took a bit longer for unmarried women to gain widespread access to the pill and other forms of contraception: Linda Gordon, 80, a historian at New York University, remembers the stigma around single women and contraception at the time.
“When I was in college, a number of women had a wedding ring – a gold ring –that we would pass around and use when we wanted to go see a doctor to get fitted for a diaphragm,” Gordon said. “In other words, there were people finding their way to do that, even then.”
The pill also gave rise to a variety of other forms of hormonal contraception, many of which are popular today, Gordon said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 13% of American women of reproductive age use the pill — making it the second most popular form of contraception, after female sterilization.
Gordon said that 60 years after the pill’s approval, contraception remains a contentious political issue.
Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act. A decision on whether some institutions with religious or moral objections can deny contraceptive coverage to their employees is expected in the months to come.
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