The 1960s was an era of growth: women found their voices, the fashion industry became more colorful than ever, and music changed in ways nobody could have imagined. It was a time of innovation – and these are the things 1960s Americans just couldn’t live without.
Prior to 1960, the most effective and popular form of birth control was the condom. Not only did they prevent pregnancy, but they also minimized the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Still, condoms could be inconvenient, and would sometimes break or come off. Luckily, a new form of contraception was right around the corner.
When the FDA approved a drug to ease menstrual problems in 1957, it was never intended to be a contraceptive. But it actually did prevent pregnancy, causing an awful lot of women to suddenly report severe menstrual disorders.
Known as Enovid, by 1960, the FDA had finally recognized the drug as an effective way to stave off pregnancy. It quickly became commonly called “the Pill.” Within two years, 1.2 million women were taking the Pill as it exploded in popularity. But the drug remained controversial, largely due to the Pope’s views on family – and the reactionary groups who charged Planned Parenthood with, in their words, “committing genocide.”
For those reasons, the Pill remained illegal in several states even as it rose to become the most popular method of birth control. And then, in 1969, Barbara Seaman’s book, The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill, revealed such risky side effects as blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, weight gain, depression, and even “loss of libido” – which kind of defeated the purpose of the Pill in the first place. Enovid was discontinued in the U.S. in 1988, and today has been replaced by a number of more effective contraceptive pills.
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