Oral Contraceptives

November 9, 1966

Report Outline
Introduction of Oral Contraceptives
Safety of the Contraceptive Pills
Probable Spread of Oral Contraception

Introduction of Oral Contraceptives

Broad Effects of Solving Age-Old Problem

Few of the many wonder-working drugs available today have a more portentous potential effect on the human condition than the little white disc, scarcely a quarter-inch in diameter, familiarly known as “the pill.” As the first virtually infallible contraceptive that requires no intrusion on or interference with the experience of sexual intercourse, the pill appears headed for worldwide acceptance by people in every walk of life. Should the Roman Catholic Church eventually liberalize its position on birth control, a major remaining barrier to the already rapidly spreading use of the contraceptive pill would fall away.

The ultimate consequences of full acceptance of an easily used and effective contraceptive are almost beyond the reach of the human imagination. They might range from the first full freeing of women from “biological slavery” to the rescuing of mankind from the Malthusian fate of starvation on an overpopulated globe. The pill is already credited with having contributed in an important way to the decline in the U. S. birth rate which began in 195? and which has taken a sharper downturn since the end of 1964. Not since the depression period of 30 years ago has the birth rate been as low as it is now—about 19 births per 1,000 population.

Improvements in methods of contraception are inevitable. A tablet which need be taken less frequently is already in the offing. Pill-swallowing may be supplanted by once-a-month or once-a-year injections. Or refinements of the intra-uterine devices, already rivaling the pill in acceptance overseas, may win greater favor. But the pill is the great breakthrough, the first fully effective solution of a problem with which men and women have contended in various inadequate ways since the beginnings of family life.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Birth Control
Jun. 24, 2005  Birth-Control Debate
Jul. 29, 1994  Birth Control Choices
May 14, 1993  Preventing Teen Pregnancy
Nov. 11, 1988  Birth Control: the Choices Are Limited
Jun. 07, 1972  Contraceptives and Society
Sep. 04, 1968  Birth Control in Latin America
Nov. 09, 1966  Oral Contraceptives
Oct. 15, 1958  Status of Birth Control
Population Control
Women's Health Issues