Legal and Societal Factors Affecting the Development of Oral Contraceptives for Women
Various factors have led to our present paradigm regarding contraceptive technology. This technology is the culmination of a lengthy social, economic and institutional process that largely excluded women users from the design stages of contraception. In largely chronological fashion, this paper traces the major cultural, legal, and scientific conditions leading to the development of oral contraceptives. Part I describes the push to outlaw contraception as obscenity in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Part II and VI trace various stages in the development and marketing of female hormones, while Part VIII describes the obstacles that had to be overcome in order to test various oral contraceptive candidates in the female population. Parts III-V, VII and IX outline efforts made at various times to incorporate contraception into mainstream American medicine and culture, including the various legislative and judicial struggles that eventually led to widespread use of oral contraceptives. Part X describes the new social and legal challenges that women faced once contraception was legalized and made social acceptable, and Part XI addresses the disparities that have existed between developing male and female contraceptives, particularly oral contraceptives.
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