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One Small Pill For Womankind: One Big Dose For The U.S.

2095 words - 8 pages

Gregory Goodwin Pincus created the birth control pill stimulating a new tidal wave of women’s rights movements. From one small pill, new channels that were once dammed to a trickle became a mighty flood again. With the ability to prevent pregnancy without risking a dangerous abortion women found the strength to fight against male-dominated areas that were still left untouched from the first series of movements by their predecessors. From how long they were involved in the workforce to stepping up for their rights and changing laws, women came alive with a renewed ferocity with just one small pill.
Once the pill, a reliable option, to prevent pregnancy was there women took hold of it in massive numbers. In 1957 the pill was approved “for the treatment of severe menstrual disorders” and “By later 1959, over half a million American women are taking Envoid, presumably for the “off-label” contraceptive purposes” (“Timeline“). Pincus’ pill was publicly meant only to prevent menstrual pains and complications but this was just the first step towards women taking control of their reproductive system. Their desire was made clear because by October 29, 1959 they had influenced the Searle pharmaceutical company enough with their usage that he filed an application with the FDA for approval for it be labeled as a contraceptive (“Timeline”). By May 11, 1960, not a full year after submission, Searle received approval for Envoid to become the first U.S. available oral birth control and it fulfilled it’s original purpose (“Timeline”). Just two years after its approval, 1.2 million women were taking the pill (“Timeline”). In just another year (1963) that number almost doubled to 2.3 million and by 1965 it more than doubled again to 6.5 million American women taking the pill (“Timeline”).
With all these women taking the pill there was a drop in fertility (birth) rates per one thousand women between the ages of fifteen and forty-four (Health 102). In 1950, the rate of births was at 106.2 and in 1960 it was 118.0. But in 1970 it made an extraordinary descent to 87.9, a significant decrease by 30.1 births (“Health” 102). The birthrate continued to drop and stay at low levels since 1970s into current times (“Health” 102). Women made their point when they chose the pill; they wanted to control when they had children and how many- they chose less.
That was not their final decision though, they decided to go back to work. According to the U.S. Census of 1950, the United States' aggregated population was 154,233,234 (“United States 1950”) which grew to 179,323,175 (“United States 1960”) and 203,302,031 (“History”). In 1950s a small minority of women between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four worked in the few selected jobs that they were allowed, the percentage a less than half 43.9 percent in comparison to men's percentage of 77.3 (“Labor Force”). This number steadily dropped as the age of marriage, reproduction and raising a family came about, dropping their...

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