The Pill’s 50th Birthday Party

1963 Ortho-Novum ad for the birth control pill via <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/science/as-the-pill-turns-50-the-little-agent-of-modernity-still-arouses-trouble/article1560994/">the Globe and Mail</a>.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


50 years ago today, the FDA promised to give women a reliable way to control their fertility without resorting to crocodile dung, Lysol douches, or lemon rind diaphragms. Fans of irony will note that the pill’s FDA approval was nudged into being by a fervently Catholic doctor named John Rock, whose attempts to please the Pope also inspired the Pill’s medically pointless 28-day cycle.

[Read Malcolm Gladwell’s fascinating 2000 New Yorker article on Rock and the Pill’s birth here.]

More than a million women were carrying the small circular pill containers in their purses by 1962, medicine masquerading as makeup compacts. As Time‘s Nancy Gibbs writes, “There’s no such thing as the Car or the Shoe or the Laundry Soap. But everyone knows the Pill, whose FDA approval 50 years ago rearranged the furniture of human relations in ways that we’ve argued about ever since.”

Gail Collins has a great column this weekend on what the Pill arguments are about now. Plus, don’t miss Elizabeth Gettelman’s whirlwind history of contraception here.

Happy 50th, Pill!

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate