How could we discuss Women’s History Month on a Planned Parenthood blog and not bring up the history of The Pill?
Oral contraception was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960. The FDA approval of the birth control pill enabled a radical shift in the United States – the proof being that over 12 million women currently use The Pill as their preferred method of birth control. The New York Times has advocated that birth control should be available for over-the-counter distribution. Loretta Lynn even wrote a song about how awesome The Pill is. All of this is for the pure and simple reason that birth control gives women control over their reproductive destiny. It enables them to determine when, and if, they become pregnant. And it has increased women’s access to both higher education and the paid labor force.
Birth control has expanded over the last 50 years to include a variety of contraceptive formats, including The Pill, hormone shots, IUD’s, the Nuva Ring, and the patch, just to name a few.
Planned Parenthood is committed to increasing women’s access to birth control. In fact, we’re in the midst of a national campaign to make sure that as the new health care reform package is implemented, women have access to birth control without any co-pays. The average woman spends 30 years of her life trying to avoid getting pregnant. More than 30% women in America have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control at some point in their lives, and, as a result, have used birth control inconsistently. No co-pays for birth control is the single most important step we can take to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.
Here’s how you can help. Click over to the Birth Control Matters website, then sign our petition, and forward the site to your friends.
For a detailed history of The Pill, check out this article that Time Magazine wrote last year on the 50th anniversary of the FDA approval of oral contraception. To find out which birth control method is right for you, Planned Parenthood has the run down all all of the different methods available.
How has birth control affected your life? What’s your birth control method of choice? We’d love to hear what you have to say about The Pill, or any other contraception that’s had a positive impact in your life.
I wrote some reviews last year of three really great books about the Pill’s history. Such an exciting intersection between the history of science and the history of feminism, with labor issues, religious debates, and some truly fascinating personalities thrown in. It’s really amazing to me that Margaret Sanger was dreaming of a “magic pill” less than a century ago, and thanks to her efforts, the funding of Katharine McCormick, and some truly incredible scientists, we have it!
The possibilities for over-the-counter birth control and full insurance coverage for it are very exciting. Anything that increases access and ease will do so much good in terms of prevention and empowerment.
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