The Dark History of Birth Control Pill

Black and Hispanic women were used like “guinea pigs” in the experimentation. From Identities.Mic:

The pill. Freedom in a small table. The cause célèbre of the women’s rights movement. Particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby conclusion in 2014 and the uncertain what may occur hereafter of the Affordable Care Act, in ~ degree other issue, perhaps barring campus sexual aggression, has dominated the contemporary feminist agenda considered in the state of much as birth control.

Despite this point of concentration, the history of this relative freedom is something about which many advocates appear to be ignorant. More women (27.5%, according to late data from the Guttmacher Institute) rely without ceasing the pill than any other symbol of contraception, yet public discourse suggests that most, on the pill or not, require no idea about its past anchored in eugenics, sexism and racism. 

The mockery of the pill is that it was tested on women, specifically women of color — many of whom were forced to bear sterilization — before later essential ~ marketed predominately to white women in America being of the kind which a symbol of independence.

“Controlling sex and race”: Contrary to more popular celebratory writings, such as Jonathan Eig’s recent The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, the pill’s fib should not necessarily be one of hero-worship.

“The pill has functioned as a technique not only for controlling generation but also for producing and controlling form relative to sex and race,” scholar Beatriz Preciado writes in her volume about gender in the age of pharmacology, Testo Junkie. Indeed, Dr. Gregory Pincus and Dr. John Rock — sum of ~ units of Eig’s “crusaders,” funded through Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger — effectively sterilized hundreds of women, from non-consenting psychiatric patients at the Worcester State Hospital to necessitous Puerto Rican women living in the trappings projects of Rio Piedras, by testing variations of the pill up~ the body them.

“Guinea pigs”: There were a maniple of reasons why Puerto Rico became “the imaginary standard setting for pill trials, which were the largest succession of clinical tests ever performed,” Preciado writes. As PBS reports, regulation “officials supported birth control as a cut of population control in the hopes that it would shoot Puerto Rico’s endemic poverty.” In 1937, the deed of Law 136 legally sanctioned sterilization of Puerto Rican women as antidote to such purposes. What’s more, the pill trials that later began in Puerto Rico in the 1950s in like manner expanded to other “pseudo-colonial locations” like Haiti and Mexico, Iris Ofelia López points out in her book Matters of Choice: Puerto Rican Women’s Struggle beneficial to Reproductive Freedom.

The real kicker? Women of freshness of complexion continued to be used as “twenty-one shillings pigs” because the FDA, Preciado writes, “felt it threw distrust on the femininity of American women through suppressing their periods altogether.”

As a effect “one-third of ever-married women stricken in years 20-49 had been sterilized” in Puerto Rico ~ the agency of 1965, with “two-fifths of them prior to the age of 25,” according to an article by sociology professor Harriet B. Presser. (Read besides.) Share

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