American Experience : The Pill (2003)

Genres - History, Health & Fitness  |   Sub-Genres - Inventions & Innovations, Women's Health, Gender Issues, Social History  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

This entry in the PBS documentary series American Experience traces the history of the birth control pill, from the moment of FDA approval in 1960 to the present day. The Pill also generously provides the backstory to its subject matter, detailing older and less reliable forms of contraception, the occasional criminalization of and ongoing religious resistance to birth control, and the tireless efforts of such pioneers as Margaret Sanger, Katherine McCormick, biological researcher Gregory Pincus and Catholic gynecologist John Rock to develop a safe and universally acceptable method of reigning in the so-called "population explosion." The more controversial aspects of the subject are also fully chronicled, including the dangerous side effects attending early testing of the pill in Puerto Rico. Using archival footage, still pictures, and interviews with women whose lives were forever altered by being allowed to have "power over their ovaries" (to quote one observer), The Pill is narrated by actress Blair Brown.



activism, birth-control, contraception, controversial, FDA (Food and Drug Administration), feminism, gynecologist, research, women's-issues