Carl Djerassi, inventor of the pill, dies

Shemer Compfight CC
Shemer Compfight CC

As a public figure, he was above all an apologist for the pill, travelling widely to promote it and also to defend it against the likes of Germaine Greer — “always a vociferous opponent of the pill,” he noted in a 2007 interview with The Guardian — and Barbara Seaman, whose 1969 book The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill exposed side effects including the risk of blood clots, heart attack, stroke, depression, weight gain and loss of libido.

He was dismissive of such claims – “everything has side effects” – and countered the feminist critique (Why not a male pill?”) by arguing that feminists, above all, should know that women could not trust men to take a pill. Scientifically, he told the Guardian, there was no difficulty; they knew how to make a male pill. But sharing the burden of contraception would take away women’s control over their own fertility, and potentially all the political gains of the previous 50 years.

It’s a comment that sheds quite a lot of light on the effects of the contraceptive revolution. The pill’s “guarantee” of sex without children is also the death of trust between spouses or partners, and between men and women generally. Sex from now on is about negotiation between two people who are (theoretically) equal in power, though equally uncertain of each other’s motives and feelings. And society is reduced to competing camps.

Read the rest here 

Recommended Resources
Book Review: Start Your Family
Surviving the First 50 Years of the Pill
Why the Church Needs Bioethics: A Guide to Wise Engagement with Life’s Challenges
Three Decades of Fertility
Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies
BIRTH CONTROL: How Did We Get Here?

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