“If Your Girlfriend Gets Pregnant, So Do You!”: 13 Amazing Vintage Contraceptive Ads

Forty years of blunt, simple, and often goofy contraception ads


Just a few months ago, a Michigan state representative was banned from speaking on her own legislature’s floor after saying “vagina.” In Virginia, a squeamish lawmaker simply called it “V.” This year, several states also enacted laws mandating that abstinence be stressed in sex education classes, bringing to 26 the total number of states with such policies. Meanwhile, Todd “legitimate rape” Akin schooled us in medieval biology. ‘Nuff said.

Somehow, we’ve arrived at a place where euphemisms are preferable, ignorance is tolerated, and politicians are seeking to turn back the clock on a woman’s right to dictate the terms of her personal and professional future.

So, in recognition of World Contraception Day, we put together this slideshow. Pulled from archives at the National Institutes of Health, these vintage contraception ads from around the globe date back as far as 1969. They tell it like it is—with humor, a few tacky hairdos, and a bluntness that will surely please anyone who’s tired of the talk-arounds.

1986, London Family Planning Association National Library of Medicine
 

1980, Family Planning Association of Queensland National Library of Medicine
 

1991, Gambia Family Planning Association National Library of Medicine
 

“Careful! Don’t take a step without your sandal. When it’s time to decide, you have a lot to choose from.” 1995, Fundación Mexicana para la Planeación Familiar (MEXFAM) National Library of Medicine
 

1980s, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah National Library of Medicine
 

1996, Senegal Ministere de la Sante et de l’Action Sociale (MSAS) National Library of Medicine
 

1978, Pharmacy Planning Service National Library of Medicine
 

1993, Family Planning Association of Hong Kong (FPAHK) National Library of Medicine

Fundación Mexicana para la Planeación Familiar (MEXFAM) National Library of Medicine
 

1993, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) National Library of Medicine
 

1969, India Ministry of Health, Family Planning, and Urban Development National Library of Medicine
 

Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA) National Library of Medicine
 

1970, London Family Planning Association National Library of Medicine

 

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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