Birth Control History

If you look at birth control history, you can see a long road trial and error, as well as protests and unwillingness to change that led birth control methods to where they are today.

  1. Coitus Interruptus. Date Unknown. Before birth control was invented, women and men had to resort to coitus interruptus, or male withdrawal as a means of preventing pregnancy. If that didn't work, some even resorted to botched abortions and infanticide.
  2. 3000 B.C. The First Condoms. The first condoms invented were created from animal intestines, fish bladders, linen sheaths and other thin, stretchy materials.  These were used for thousands of years until a newer type of condom was invented.
  3. 1500 A.D. First Spermicide. This was created so that condoms made from the linen sheaths could be soaked in this new spermicide and dried out before usage.  People realized that perhaps linen cloth sheaths were enough, so spermicide was to make them more effective.
  4. 1838  New Condoms & Diaphragms. New condoms were created in place of the old ones. Diaphragms were also invented. Both the diaphragms and new condom were created from a type of vulcanized rubber.
  5. 1873 The Comstock Act. In the United States, the Comstock Act prohibited any information, advertising or distribution of birth control. It also gave the postal service permission to confiscate any birth control passing through the mail.
  6. 1916 First Birth Control Clinic. After opening the first birth control clinic, Margaret Sanger was found guilty of "maintaining a public nuisance." She was then sentenced to jail for 30 days. As soon as she was out, she reopened her clinic even though she has to go through additional prosecutions.
  7. 1938 End of the Comstock Act. A judge lifted the national ban of birth control that was reinstated during the Comstock Act. This happened through a case of Margaret Sanger. At this time, diaphragms became a wildly popular method of birth control.
  8. 1950 Research for Birth Control Pill. Margaret Sanger, while in her 80s, helped write any research necessarily for the first birth control pill. She was able to fund raise more than $150,000 for it, and by 1960, Frank Colton marketed the first U.S. oral contraceptive called Enovid.
  9. 1965 Court Ruling. In Griswold vs. Connecticut, the Supreme Court ruled that married couples were allowed to use birth control. This became protected in the Constitution as a right to privacy.
  10. 1960s Intrauterine Devices. The first intrauterine devices, also known as IUDs, were first made and marketed in the U.S.
  11. Late 1960s Oral Contraceptive Challenged. Feminists and other people were worried about the health and safety of women taking oral contraceptives, as there were serious risks confirmed and associated with it. Feminists and consumer activists led to modification of the birth control pill.
  12. 1975 Dalkon Shield Recalled. The Dalkon Shield, a popular IUD in the US, was recalled because of complaints that it caused infertility. As a result, all IUDs were taken off-market.
  13. 1980s–1990s New Methods Introduced. Hormonal birth controls methods such as injectables and implants emerged, as well as low-dose pills.
  14. 1992 Emergency Contraception. Because of a public awareness campaign, emergency contraception became more widely available.
  15. 2000s Expansion in Birth Control Methods. In the 2000s, there were rapid expansions in both the availability of birth control, but also in effectiveness and safety. The hormonal path, vaginal ring ring, single rod implants, transcervical female sterilization and the vaginal ring were improved. In 2005, it was declared that there is a need in methods that protect against STIs as well as prevent pregnancies.
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