The Dark History of the Pill



Nineteen sixty. The birth control pill was first approved by the f._d._a. Is a contraceptive method. In the united states within four years. Were than four million women had used what it was then marketed under the name and novick now more than a half century later. The pill is the most common birth control method used by women but before any of that the people behind birth control pills needed to prove they were effective and to do that. They needed to test them on humans. Where are they chose to conduct. Those tests marks one of the most controversial and really discuss chapters in the history of drug that has come to symbolize women's men's liberation in the mid nineteen fifties. The first large-scale human trial of the pill was launched in puerto rico in a public housing project. There are multiple theories. Why puerto rico was chosen as a testing ground despite its heavy catholic population it. It was an easy flight from the u._s. Mainland there were no laws against birth control and the locations overcrowding and poverty made it especially attractive to a biologist named gregory agree pinkus who was concerned about global population control little was known about the drug's effects human trials began it had been tested on rats and rabbits in a small sampling of women in puerto rico. It was given to as many as fifteen hundred women over several years. The trial raised controversy at the time in continues to inspire to be three women the trials die but no autopsies were conducted and it remains unclear if their deaths were linked to the drugs at the time it was given in much higher doses than it is today the the choice of testing on poor people of color race comparisons to early instances of experimentation forced upon unknowing african americans and a study that involve deliberately liberally infecting hundreds of guatemalans with sexually transmitted diseases after all the puerto rican women were being given a drug whose side effects in humans were almost completely sweetly unknown but unlike in those cases the women in the trial largely understood why they were taking the pill and descriptions of the women. I'm in the study showed that they were eager to have control over their family. Planning one woman in the study was thirty years old and had ten children another had five children and a husband who was hospitalized frequently for mental illness before the pill their main option for preventing pregnancy with sterilization in the trial deter up some side effects in the first year about about twenty five percent of the women quit because they either lost interest or didn't want to take medication dizziness nausea were frequent complaints but the drug affective among women who didn't miss the dose in that effectiveness with key to its approved demand was clear when the f._d._a. fifty eight commissioner appeared on a radio show in nineteen fifty nine to discuss a cranberry recall callers instead questions about the pill it was approved the next gear and in the ensuing debates the pill has become a symbol of women's freedom the women puerto rico meanwhile we're left grappling with what happened to them and for decades they remain part of the trial until nineteen sixty four receiving the drug. Even as women across the united states complained about side effects including including an increased risk of blood clots and lawsuits were launched against the pills manufacturer to this day. Whether these puerto rican women women will go down in history as unwitting getting pigs or pioneers of women's liberation is still unclear.

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