Today’s post comes from Claire Payton, a research assistant at New York University’s Margaret Sanger Papers Project.
Of the millions of women who take the pill each day, most think about it only during the second or two it takes to swallow it; for the most disciplined among us, taking it requires no thought at all. We pop it out of simple packages in pastel colors, but where did the pill really come from? The story of the pill is much more complex than the packaging suggests.
A few weeks ago marked the 52nd anniversary of FDA approval of the first birth control pill in 1960. Within five years, more than six and a half million women were using it to regulate their families! This new medication completely revolutionized relationships, society, and the workplace by allowing women to postpone having children. The pill seems entirely commonplace today, a benign if essential prop in our social landscape, yet its development was entirely dependent on the intertwining lives of a few key personalities, one of whom was Margaret Sanger.