Happy 50th to the Pill!
Most Americans think it’s a good thing.
Although the abortion debate rages on, a healthy majority Americans can agree about one issue related to reproduction: the birth-control pill has been good for us as a society. In fact, according to a Harris Poll survey, 86 percent of Americans think so.
Both men and women agreed on its positive effect. Just 5 percent of respondents thought the Pill had been “very bad” for society.
The Pill (we never needed to call it anything else) was introduced in 1960, giving a measure of independence to women who could, because of it, decide when and if to have children. As a result, women could work outside the home longer, or go to medical or law school while postponing pregnancy.
It’s been singled out by feminist historians as perhaps the most influential factor in changing women’s lives in a major way. Not that unrestricted freedom came immediately: In the early days of the Pill, women often had to talk their doctors into giving them a prescription by saying they were engaged.
At the same time, though, respondents to the Harris Poll said they were concerned about unplanned pregnancies in general and attributed the phenomenon to a decline in moral standards (54 percent) and a lack of overall education (51 percent). (Village Voice)