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Generations of women have lived with the task of controlling the childbearing

process. In 1960, the Food and Drug Administration approved the birth control

pill. The approval of the pill was a great event for women. The birth control

pill not only prevents pregnancy, it also treats several feminine disorders.

Before the birth control pill, many women turned to illegal or self-performed

abortion. In 1973 abortion was made legal by the case of Roe Vs. Wade. These

events have become a great privilege for women, but neither prevents A.I.D.S. or

other diseases. In 1916, the birth control movement was established by a public

health nurse name Margaret Sanger. Sanger opened up the first birth control

clinic in New York. This clinic informed women about deciding to become mothers

and when. It also provided education to women about existing birth control

methods. The idea of a woman?s right to control her own body and her own

sexuality, gave a new outlook to family planning. Sanger recorded in her

autobiography: ?Every day the little waiting room was crowded. Women came from

the far end of Long Island (the press having the spread the word), from

Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. They came to learn the

?secret? which they thought was possessed by the rich and denied to the

poor.? (Asbell 44) According to Bernard Asbell, the state of New York charged

Sanger with illegal distribution of contraceptive information and forced Sanger

to close the clinic (45). In 1951, Sanger and Katharine McCormick, an heir to

the International Harvester fortune, wanted a simple and a more efficient form

of a contraceptive. Sanger went to Gregory Pincus, a researcher at the Worcester

Foundation for Experimental Biology, with their idea. Pincus had been receiving

funds from the Planned Parenthood Federation to study mammalian egg, but it was

not enough to develop a hormonal contraceptive (Asbell 59). It was an $180,000

contribution from McCormick that funded adequate research development for a

hormonal contraceptive. By 1955, Pincus, a Harvard gynecologist named John Rock,

and graduate student Min Chueh Chang had found a way to keep a woman from

conceiving. The team of three came up with a progestogen pill that would keep a

woman from ovulating; therefore she could not get pregnant. This pill was called

the birth control pill and was approved by the Food and Drug administration in

1960. S. Snider reports that the birth control pill ?was a major medical

achievement that rewrote the future of women and family life. For the first time

in history, it became possible for a woman to safely and effectively control

childbearing by taking a pill (4). Although the pill was a wonderful success, it

wasn?t long before health officials raised concerns about serious side

affects. Fears of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke, caused exhaustive

research on oral contraceptives in the 60?s and 70?s. The health risks are

not as large due to the low-dose birth control pills on the market today (Snider

5). The birth control pill does not only prevent pregnancies, but it also helps

control some diseases and other medical problems. Many women that have an

irregular menstrual cycle take the pill to keep their cycle normal. The pill has

also proven to help women who have endometriosis. In 1973, the Supreme Court

ruled case of Roe vs. Wade to legalized abortion. Since there has been health

scares about the pill abortion has seem to become the other alternative to

contraception. Some teenagers and women abuse abortion as a form of birth

control.


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