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Today in History: June 23rd, 1960

Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images

The first contraceptive pill becomes available in the US

On June 23, 1960, a groundbreaking event occurred that would change the lives of millions of women: the first oral contraceptive pill, Enovid, became available for purchase in the United States. This marked a pivotal moment in both medical and social history, providing women with a new level of control over their reproductive health.

The journey to this moment began with the efforts of several key figures. Biologist Gregory Pincus and gynecologist John Rock, along with philanthropist Katharine McCormick, who funded the research, played crucial roles in developing the pill. Their work was supported by birth control activist Margaret Sanger. Clinical trials, first conducted in Puerto Rico and later in the United States during the 1950s, proved the pill’s effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. The FDA initially approved Enovid in 1957 for treating menstrual disorders, but on June 23, 1960, it approved it as a contraceptive.

Several birth control packets piled on top of each other.
Montage of various types of contraceptive pills and their packaging. (PhotoCredit: SSPL / Getty Images)

The introduction of Enovid was met with great enthusiasm, and the availability of the contraceptive pill had a profound impact on society. For the first time, women had reliable control over their fertility, which empowered them to make choices about their careers and education without the fear of unplanned pregnancies. This was a significant boost to the women’s liberation movement. The pill also played a key role in the sexual revolution of the 1960s, changing attitudes towards sex and marriage. However, it was not without controversy, as there were debates about its safety and moral implications, especially from religious groups.

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The pill paved the way for the development of newer and safer contraceptive methods and remains a symbol of the ongoing struggle for reproductive rights and gender equality. The introduction of the contraceptive pill was a revolutionary step forward, empowering women and reshaping society in profound ways.

TVN News Poster

TVN News Poster is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News