In May of this year, the oral contraceptive known as "The Pill" turns 50 years old, and on this anniversary it is worth reflecting on the Pill's impact, and the obstacles women have faced in obtaining and using it.
The pill first became available at a time when thirty states still banned the promotion of birth control. At first, its promotion was covert; doctors prescribed it for treatment of "female disorders." In the decades that followed, the pill was blamed for instigating the sexual revolution and encouraging promiscuity among young women. Little of this held true, as even Planned Parenthood required women to be married to receive the pill in the 1960s. At the time, one doctor explained it this way: “The presence of the pill does not make people decide to have sex. It is after they decide to have sex that they go get the pill.”