The Pill’s 50th Birthday Party

1963 Ortho-Novum ad for the birth control pill via <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/science/as-the-pill-turns-50-the-little-agent-of-modernity-still-arouses-trouble/article1560994/">the Globe and Mail</a>.

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50 years ago today, the FDA promised to give women a reliable way to control their fertility without resorting to crocodile dung, Lysol douches, or lemon rind diaphragms. Fans of irony will note that the pill’s FDA approval was nudged into being by a fervently Catholic doctor named John Rock, whose attempts to please the Pope also inspired the Pill’s medically pointless 28-day cycle.

[Read Malcolm Gladwell’s fascinating 2000 New Yorker article on Rock and the Pill’s birth here.]

More than a million women were carrying the small circular pill containers in their purses by 1962, medicine masquerading as makeup compacts. As Time‘s Nancy Gibbs writes, “There’s no such thing as the Car or the Shoe or the Laundry Soap. But everyone knows the Pill, whose FDA approval 50 years ago rearranged the furniture of human relations in ways that we’ve argued about ever since.”

Gail Collins has a great column this weekend on what the Pill arguments are about now. Plus, don’t miss Elizabeth Gettelman’s whirlwind history of contraception here.

Happy 50th, Pill!

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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