The birth control pill separated sexual practice from conception, forcing re-assessment and reevaluation of social, political, and religious viewpoints. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pincus’ pill in 1957, but only to treat certain menstrual disorders, not as a contraceptive. But he wasn’t alone in his efforts to devise an oral contraceptive. 2003 The FDA approves Seasonale, a pill that gives women only four periods a year. Although the birth control pill and other hormonal contraceptive devices are modern inventions, birth control has been around for thousands of years. Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. Women have gained incredible freedom and reproductive autonomy. This didn't change until 1967. The pill was approved in the United States for the treatment of “menstrual disturbance” in 1957, and finally as a contraceptive in 1960. Norway was careful, and waited longer than both Germany and the other Scandinavian countries. 2007 What could be next? Need to Know is a production of Creative News Group (CNG) in association with WNET. The pill is deemed 100 percent effective, but some serious side effects are ignored. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. 1979 Sales of the pill drop by 24 percent in four years due to publicity about health risks. Not all states were on board with the drug, however. 1960 The first oral contraceptive, Enovid, a mix of the hormones progesterone and estrogen, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 1964 But the pill is still controversial: It remains illegal in eight states. Other types of combined estrogen and progesti… Courtesy: Smithsonian Institute. 1965 Five years after the FDA approval, 6.5 million American women are on pill, making it the most popular form of birth control in the U.S. 1967 The controversy over the pill takes on a new dimension when African-American activists charge that Planned Parenthood, by providing the pill in poor, minority neighborhoods, is committing genocide. 1954 Rock and Pincus conduct the first human trials on 50 women in Massachusetts. At the moment, the 2 contraceptive methods available to men are: Over the past decade, birth control options have increased significantly. Then Sanger met endocrinologist Gregory Pincus at a dinner party. He did so successfully in Massachusetts, then they moved on larger trials in Puerto Rico which were also highly successful. It was a sensation: the first form of hormonal contraception. Newer formes of oral contraceptive pills are introduced every few years, with some sparking controversy over potentially harmful side effects. By 1954, Pincus—working together with John Rock—was ready to test his contraceptive. 1934 Endocrinologist Gregory Pincus creates a test tube rabbit — and is vilified as a Frankenstein. In 1961, Health Minister Enoch Powell announced that women who wished to have oral contraception would be able to receive it through the NHS. The introduction in 1961 of a reliable, convenient oral contraceptive pill available on the National Health Service was a godsend to British women. At a glance: the combined pill. When the Pill was first introduced it could only be prescribed to married women. However, in 1963, the pill reached the nation, but not as contraception. Ultimately, Pincus’ original formula was taken off the market in the late 1980s and replaced with a less potent version that decreased some of the known health risks. Clinical tests of the pill, which used synthetic progesterone and estrogen to repress ovulation in women, were initiated in 1954. Since there was so much publicity when Pincus jumped the … Ancient Egyptian women are credited with attempting the first form of birth control using a mixture of cotton, dates, acacia, and honey in the form of a suppository. 1988 The original high-dose pill is taken off the market; an FDA study shows the heath benefits of newer pills, including a decreased risk of ovarian cancer, iron deficiency anemia and pelvic inflammatory disease. A gynecologist named John Rock had already started testing chemicals as contraceptives, and Frank Colton, a chief chemist at Searle, was in the process of creating a synthetic progesterone at the time. Originally published July 17, 2003. 1953 If Sanger is the activist behind the pill and Pincus the scientist, Katherine McCormick — biologist, women’s rights activist and heiress to a great fortune — is the money. As tiny as it is, the pill had a huge impact. By the late 1960s, serious side effects were beginning to come to light. The first continuous birth control pill, which women take every day to suppress their periods and provide birth control, was approved in September. 1960 The pill is approved for contraceptive use. Katherine McCormick & Margret Sanger. Antiquity: Ancient Egyptian women use a combination of cotton, dates, honey and acacia as a suppository, and it turns out fermented acacia really does have a spermicidal effect. But the medical establishment wasn't quite ready to embrace free love in 1961. Enovid, the first commercially-available pill, was passed for use as a contraceptive by the Food and Drug Administration in May 1960. The contraceptive pill has been called the greatest scientific invention of the 20th Century by some commentators. 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