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The pill turns 50

May 7, 2010 - Nikki Younk
This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the 20th century’s most important inventions—the contraceptive pill.

While it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come in both technology and attitudes toward women’s sexuality, this anniversary only reminds me of how much work remains.

To start with, as effective as the pill of today is, it’s still not at 100 percent. There’s so much room for human error—forget to take a pill, start a pack late, mix the pill with an antibiotic—that relying on the pill can be as risky as unsafe sex itself. And remember, no pill will prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.

Will we ever create a pill that’s 100 percent effective? Probably not. But, we can still attempt to minimize the margin of error.

Another thing to work on is the stigma of taking the pill. Girls who go on the pill should not automatically be seen as promiscuous. They should be seen as smart and proactive. Any girl can become pregnant after she has her first period (which used to come around age 12, but now comes earlier and earlier), and as much as we’d like to ignore it, fact is, kids have sex.

Don't even get me started on availability. The pill is fairly inexpensive if you have health insurance. What about the women who don't have insurance? Each and every woman should have access to this important drug, if she wants it.

Here’s to another 50 years of progress.

 
 

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