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Birth Control Pills

In the 1950s, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America invited an American biologist, Dr. Gregory Pincus, to develop an ideal contraceptive, that was simple, safe, and esthetically acceptable to both husband and wife (Snider). Government and private sources donated some of the funds, and Planned Parenthood put up the seed money, and within a few years, the birth control pill was being tested in Haiti and Puerto Rico. The first birth control pill approved in the United States by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 1960 was Enovid-10 (Snider). The pill contained 100 to 175 micrograms of synthetic estrogen and as much as 10 milligrams of synthetic progestin. The pills were 99 percent effective if taken as instructed.

Within two years, approximately 1.2 million women were using the pill, within five years five million women were using it, and by 1973, about 10 million American women were using the birth control pill (Snider). The FDA noted in the mid-1960s that so many people would never take such a potent drug voluntarily on a long-term basis for any reason other than having a disease. However, they continued to warn about possible side effects. According to the FDA, more studies have been carried out on the birth control pill than on any other medicine in history.

By 1961, there were suspicions of the birth control pill causing a predisposition to heart attacks and strokes (Snider). There was also evidence of blood clotting caused by the pill. However, in 1966, the FDA announced that there was no reason to believe the pill was unsafe. By 1969, research had found evidence of blood clotting, heart attacks and strokes linked to the amount of estrogen in the pills, and advised doctors to prescribe the lowest dose of estrogen possible. In the early 1970s, the mini-pill was developed, and contained only progestin, which reduced and thickened cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg (Birth)....

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Birth Control Pills. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:15, April 21, 2019, from