1960 May 11

FDA Approves First Birth Control Pill, Sexual Revolution Begins


The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first birth control pill for use in the United States on this day. The first Pill was sold under the name Enovid.

Many cultural historians believe that the Pill initiated the sexual revolution in America, but there is plenty of evidence that attitudes and behavior regarding sexuality were changing rapidly in the 1950s. The indicators of change included the two Kinsey Reports (the report on male sexuality, January 1, 1948; the report on female sexuality, October 20, 1953); the Supreme Court decision striking down censorship of the movies (May 26, 1952) ; and the popularity of  sexually suggestive rock and roll music, and the attempts to censor it (May 22, 1955).

But if you want to celebrate a birthday for the sexual revolution, this is probably as good a choice as there is.

Read: Linda Gordon, The Moral Property of Women: A History of Birth Control Politics in America, 3rd ed. (2007)

Learn more at a brief history of the birth control pill: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pill/timeline/

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