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  • Linda A Metzger

Birth Control - A US History

The birth control pill is 60 years old this year. Let's look back on birth control in US history.


1908 - There is a decrease in birth rate attributed to "the control of human will and choice."


1915 - It is against the law for doctors to distribute information on birth control.


1916 - Mrs. Margaret Sanger (pictured) opened the first birth control clinic in the United Stated and was arrested.


1921 - Mrs. Juliet Barrett Rublee is the vice-chairman of the American Birth Control League and states that there is no "immoral law of passion and irresponsibility" in the current birth control advocacy.


1929 - Mary Ware Dennett (pictured), activist, was convicted by a jury and fined in New York Federal Court for mailing her pamphlet "The Sex Side of Life for Young People."


1934 - Edmund B. Butler, president of the Catholic Alumni Federation sends out a pamphlet stating that "Birth Control is subversive of public morals and a violation of the natural law."


1940- Jerry Coe writes to the editor of the Patchogue Advance that there should be "some means of controlling the proper influx of soldiers, toolmakers, and steamfitters at the cradle."


1959 - Correspondent for the Press and Sun-Bulletin, Robert E. Hoyt, writes that "the success of a birth control program depends more on whether a people can read and write than it does on on what church they belong to."


1960 - The birth control pill is approved after 4 years of testing.


1968 - Rev. T. Joseph O'Donoghue, a Catholic priest, is barred because of his opposition to the church's ban on the use of birth control devices.


1974 - Robert S. Sorensen, author of "Adolescent Sexuality in Contemporary America" is quoted to say "people know they can depend on abortion" in response to current low statistics of birth control use amongst teenage girls.


1980- 20 years after the pill is approved, there is still a lot of controversy and is unpopular.


1994 - Only 41% of insurance plans cover the cost of birth control.


2003 - Birth control pill Seasonale brings to the market the ability for a woman to not just control their ability to get pregnant but also control how many periods they get in a year.


2012 - The Obama administration announced an 'accommodation" designed to ensure women have access to free FDA-approved birth control.


2019 - Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pushes for the right for birth control pills be available over the counter, as they are is several other countries.

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