Fifty years ago on Sunday, U.S. authorities announced the release a contraceptive device for women in the form of a swallowable tablet. The pill, as it has come to be known, has revolutionized sex, as well as given women control over their bodies when it comes to reproductive health.
Of course, women still do not have complete control over their bodies, as a number of states have passed laws restricting abortions. —JCL
It is 50 years since the pill was first approved as a contraceptive, finally divorcing sex from pregnancy. But half a century on, our relationship with the tablet credited with revolutionising women’s lives is not always an easy one.
On 9 May, 1960, the American authorities announced they would allow a hormonal pill previously used for gynaecological complaints to be prescribed as contraception. Over the next decade, a string of other Western countries from Australia to the UK would follow suit.
Science, changing social attitudes and even fears about overpopulation in communist states all conspired to make the pill possible.