PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The History Of Birth Control In The U.S.

(Flickr/starbooze)

Reproductive rights advocates are urging the FDA to make birth control pills available without a prescription. Almost 70 percent of women say access to birth control is a matter of health care, according to a Bloomberg poll.

On the other end of the political spectrum, there was the Blunt Amendment which would have allowed any employer – not just religion-based organizations – to opt out of the health reform requirement that their plan provide free contraceptives for employees.

Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a slut after she spoke in favor of birth control coverage for medical purposes. And candidate Rick Santorum has said in the past that if he makes it to the White House he’ll be addressing “the dangers of contraceptives.”

Today’s hand-wringing about birth control is nothing new.

Did you know, for instance, that the birth control pill was not allowed in Massachusetts as recently as 1970? At one point, the Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP charged that Planned Parenthood clinics were in effect using the pill as an instrument of racial genocide.

Andrea Tone, professor of history & Canada Research Chair in the social history of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, says that when the pill was first put on the market, there was a unique debate.

“People weren’t sure if women would buy it, if doctors would prescribe it and then what was absolutely fascinating is it practically flew off the shelves,” she told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

Guest:

  • Andrea Tone, professor of history & Canada Research Chair in the social history of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and author of “Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson are hitting the road to cover the elections. Our Tumblr brings you behind the scenes.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

February 8 7 Comments

10 Things To Know About New Hampshire

With the focus on the primary race, we decided to do a little digging to find out what sets this state apart from the other 49.

February 8 60 Comments

N.H. Sen. Shaheen On Why She Supports Hillary Clinton

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says "I never hear any men who are supporting Bernie get asked if they're supporting him because he's a man."

February 5 10 Comments

Lead 101: Flint Crisis Is Latest Example Of America’s Lead Problem

Public health historian Gerald Markowitz reminds us that the problem of lead poisoning is anything but new.

February 5 5 Comments

Why Some Forensic Evidence Isn’t Accurate Or Reliable

The co-founder of the Innocence Project explains the problems with certain types of evidence, such as bite marks.