1960 – The Pill is first approved for use as a contraceptive in the USA

One of the world’s most popular forms of birth control, the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill – or more commonly, The Pill – is a combination of oestrogen and progestogen in tablet form, which is swallowed daily by the user. It prevents unwanted pregnancies, and is perhaps the single most controversial legal drug in history.

Approved for use in the United States in 1960, the long term effects of the Pill were not well understood at the time. Some versions of the Pill later turned out to have unhealthy side-effects, including increased risks of cancer and birth control. But more important were the social effects. While there would still have been a Feminist movement in the Western world without the Pill, it would have been quite different in many ways, and very likely would have made less progress without the freedom that widely available contraception gave women.

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We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel