Saturday, May 08, 2010

the birth control pill turns 50yrs old

the birth control pill turns 50yrs oldfrom vancouver sun: Celebrated, vilified, feared and forsaken throughout its half-century history, the tiny, hormone-packed drug known simply as "The Pill" has never ceased to cause a fuss. And what a fuss it's making as it celebrates its golden anniversary — sort of.

The subject of countless magazine and newspaper articles over the past few weeks, Enovid, the original oral contraceptive comprised of synthetic hormones that inhibit ovulation, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 9, 1960, for use by married women to control birth.

That was three years after it came to market to assist with menstrual disorders. Of course its last surviving founder Carl Djerassi, considers the pill's "real birth date" to be Oct. 15, 1951, the day his lab "completed the first synthesis of a steroid eventually destined to be used for oral contraception." In Canada, the pill arrived in 1961 and wasn't actually legal for sale as birth control until 1969.

Hailed as the harbinger of the sexual revolution, the answer to unwanted children and a burgeoning global population, and the launching pad for women in the workforce, it was equally denounced by the religious right for fear it would promote promiscuity and criticized in media after women started taking ill and dropping dead from its side-effects.

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