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Rutgers historian puts 50th anniversary of the pill into cultural medicine cabinet
Date:3/23/2010

was the first foolproof contraceptive.

"While there are many more oral contraceptive options available to women today some 30 variations, in fact one big difference since the pill was first created are the lower doses of the various drugs in it.

"The creators had no idea how low a dose could be and still prevent conceptions," notes Marsh.

And unlike the 1950s, the average age of parents today is older. Couples tend to live together and then get married when they decide to have children. "People can be engaged forever. In the 1950s and early 1960s, people got married and were expected to have children right away. Now we seem to postpone marriage until we're ready to have children, increasing the age of when we do marry."

What hasn't changed since the early days of the pill is its tricky relationship with certain religious groups. But Rock, an ardent Catholic, nearly convinced the church to reconsider its views on allowing contraception use by its members. According to Marsh, Rock didn't completely fail in this pursuit.

"While contraceptives are against the laws of the Catholic Church, American Catholics have come to rely on their consciences more than on the pope's pronouncements regarding birth control," states Marsh. "The pope has never spoken infallibly on the issue. When he speaks 'ex cathedra,' he can't be wrong, because he's speaking the direct word of God. But the pope has never spoken 'ex cathedra' on the issue of contraception."

In fact, American Catholics are using birth control in the same numbers as the rest of the country. Today about 80% of women who have used any form of contraception have used the pill at one time or another in their lives.

What's in the future for reproductive medicine? With the introduction of the pill and in vitro fertilization, b y the end of the twentieth century sex and reproduction had become uncoupled. Now you can guarantee sex without reproduction and ca
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Contact: Cathy Donovan
catkarm@camden.rutgers.edu
856-225-6627
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

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