09.05.

1960: The First Contraceptive Pill Sparked Criticism

1960: The First Contraceptive Pill Sparked Criticism
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 9 May 1960
  • After the first cases of illness in women who were taking contraceptive pill, critics unrelated with the Church arose, who warned about the health dangers of taking the pill. Barbara Seaman wondered why there are no pills for men, but only women are used as guinea pigs for hormonal agents.

On this day, in 1960, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of the first contraceptive pill in history.

The pill was called “Enovid”, and was developed by Searle pharmaceutical company (now part of Pfizer). After the U.S., first birth control pills were approved in 1961 in Australia and West Germany.

It is interesting to note that Japan dragged on with the approval of the pill for almost 40 years, citing that it would reduce the use of condoms and thus increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

Even today, only 1% of women in Japan use the pill, therefore they have a relatively low percentage of AIDS. The introduction of the contraceptive pill in the world launched a number of social issues.

The Catholic Church, after studying this phenomenon, emphasized its warning that artificial contraceptives distort the nature and purpose of sexual intercourse.

After the first cases of illness in women who were taking the pill, critics unrelated with the Church arose, who warned about the health dangers of taking the pill.

One of the first critics of the pill was the feminist Barbara Seaman (she was Jewish), who brought the case before the U.S. Congress.

The hearings were led by the known Senator Gaylord Nelson (the founder of Earth Day), but not one woman was invited to the hearing, and the men present concluded that the pill is safe

. Barbara Seaman wondered why there are no pills for men, but only women are used as guinea pigs for hormonal agents.

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