Contraceptive History

  • 384


    Aristotle puts forth the idea of using spermicides such as cedar oil or lead ointment to prevent pregnancy.
  • Cassanova

    In Cassanova's memoirs, he writes of different forms of contraceptives, such as rudimentary cervical caps
  • Discovery of the Egg

    The ovum is discovered by scientists. This is a major step towards the understanding of human reproduction, thus the prevention of reproduction.
  • Utereus Soluttion

    A Massachussetts physcian, Charles Knowlton, invents a soution that can be injected into the uterus post-intercourse to prevent pregnancy.
  • Wilde Cap

    Friedrich Wilde, a German doctor, invents a cervical cap, the predecessor to the modern-day diaphragm.
  • Rubber Condom

    Charles Goodyear invents a method to harden rubber, and use his technology to make rubber condoms.
  • Sperm Finds the Egg

    Scientists discover that conception occurs when the sperm enters the female egg. No longer it is believed that a woman is just the temporary home of the life created by the man.
  • Comstock Act

    Congress passes the Comstock Law, an anti-obscenity act that specifically lists contraceptives as obscene material. It is illegal to ship them through the postal service.
  • Margaret Sanger Birth

    Margaret Higgins is born.
  • Birth Control Suppository

    London chemist W. J. Rendell invents the first commercially manufactured birth control suppository.
  • Hormones

    Viennese gynecologist Emil Knauer discovers chemicals that control the body's metabolic processes. They will later be named hormones.
  • Margaret Sanger Indicted

    Sanger is indicted for nine violations of the Comstock Law. She flees to England where she continues her work.
  • Margaret Sanger Beliefs

    In "The Woman Rebel," Margaret Sanger puts forth her ideas on the circumstances birth control should be used, such as poverty or illness.
  • Birth Control

    Maragret Sanger Coins the term "birth control."
  • National Birth Control League

    In New York City, a group of women form the National Birth Control League.
  • Sanger Returns

    Sanger returns to America. The charges are dropped. She continues to fight the Comstock Laws.
  • Birth Control Clinic

    Sanger opens the first birth control clinic in Brooklyn.
  • Clinic Closed

    Sanger's birth control clinic is raided and shut down.
  • Crane Decision

    The Crane decision is the first legal ruling to allow birth control to be used for therapeutic purposes.
  • Nineteenth Ammendment

    Women win the right to vote.
  • Rhythm Method

    Japanese and Austrian scienetists discover that women are fertile about halfway through the menstrual cycle. Abstaining from sex during this time can prevent pregnancy.
  • American Birth Control League

    Margaret Sanger establishes the American Birth Control League.
  • Legal Birth Control Clinic

    Margaret Sanger opens the first legal birth control clinic in the U.S. with the intent of only using contraceptives for medical purposes.
  • Estrogen

    Estrogen is identified by Edward Doisy at Washington University in St. Louis.
  • U.S. vs. One Package

    Margaret Sanger orchestrates a court battle over a shipment of Japanese diaphragms to a U.S. doctor. The case is called U.S. vs. One Package,. the court rules that physicians can receive contraceptive devices via mail. It is a major victory.
  • Synthetic Progesterone

    Chemistry professor Russell Marker discovers a way to make synthetic progesterone. His discovery makes progesterone production affordable and will become basis for hormonal birth control.
  • Pincus and Sanger

    Sanger and Pincus meet in New York. She persuades him to work on the birth control pill.
  • Pincus and Rock

    Pincus tests progesterone in rats; it works. He meets gynecologist John Rock, he has already started testing chemical contraception in women.
  • McCormick and Pincus

    Katherine McCormick, biologist, women's rights activists and heiress, writes a $40,000 check for research.
  • Success in Massachusetts

    Rock and Pincus successfully conduct the first human trials on 50 women in Massachusetts.
  • FDA Approves

    The FDA approves the pill, but only for severe menstrual disorders.
  • FDA Approves

    FDA Approves the pill for contraceptive purposes.
  • Five Years Later

    Five years after its approval, 6.5 million American women are on pill, making it the most popular form of birth control.
  • Margaret Sanger Death

    Margaret Sanger dies.