Birth Control Pills Day

Enovid 10, an early contraceptive pill

Man has the right to love as he will:—
“take your fill and will of love as ye will,
when, where, and with whom ye will.” —AL. I. 51.

On August 18, 1960 the first contraceptive pill, Enovid, became available by prescription for contraceptive purposes. The pill had been available since 1957, but until 1960 was only prescribed to married women to help with “disturbances of menstruation.” This oral contraceptive gave women new freedom to explore their sexuality more freely, without fear of unwanted pregnancy and without the delay of a condom or a diaphragm.

“The essence of my Word is to declare woman to be Herself, of, to, and for Herself; and I give this one irresistible Weapon, the expression of Herself and Her will through sex, to Her on precisely the same terms as to man… The best women have always been sexually-free, like the best men; it is only necessary to remove the penalties for being found out.” —The Commentary to The Book of the Law, III:55

These first birth control pills were not without problems. Indeed, over the decades many adjustments have made oral contraceptives far more viable for women who seek to control their menses or reproduction. It took some time as well before the pill was available to unmarried women. There were ethical questions about the clinical trials, many of which took place in Third World countries and without what we would today consider informed consent.

Still, it was ultimately a step in the right direction. Today we have implants, hormone-assisted intrauterine devices, permanent sterilization devices, injected contraception lasting three months, and much more. Someday we may even see a male pill!

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