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Revolutionary contraception: How the pill came to be

2002 - 11.6 million American women on pill
1995 - 10.4 million
1982 - 8.4 million
In 1960, the first birth control pill was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Learn what events lead to its creation and how the pill changed the lives of women in the United States.

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SOURCE:, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and CDC's 2002 National Surveys of Family Growth; CREDIT: Researcher: Madonna Lebling; Reporter: Melissa Bell; Web producer: Delece Smith-Barrow; Graphic: Sisi Wei - The Washington Post, May 11, 2010.
Fifty years ago the Food and Drug Administration approved the first birth control pill. An advertisement claimed women would be "freed from their chains at last," but this boastful promise to unfetter women rings hollow to some. A small but vocal chorus of women calls for the medical field's reliance on the pill to be reexamined.

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