Looking back on the birth control movement
One tablet, once a day: that routine is followed by as many as 80 million women worldwide to prevent pregnancy. The birth control pill, simply known as the pill, was the first drug to be approved for healthy women. When it first came on the Canadian market in the 1960s, feminists hailed it as a medical breakthrough while the Pope condemned its use as immoral. The pill would be one of the most significant developments of the 20th century.
In the thirties, Dorothea Palmer was working for A.R. Kaufman, a prominent birth control advocate who had set up the Parent's Information Bureau in Kitchener, Ont. In 1936, Palmer was charged with disseminating information about contraceptives. She was acquitted a year later after her lawyers found her to have acted in the public good.
In a later incident, Toronto pharmacist Harold Fine was convicted and fined for distributing condoms. His 1960 conviction spurred Barbara and George Cadbury to set up the first chapter of Planned Parenthood in Canada in 1961. The Cadburys had the informal backing of the Anglican, Presbyterian, United and Unitarian Churches.
• Women have been attempting to control pregnancy since the beginning of time. One method of contraception practiced by aboriginal peoples of Canada involved drinking alcohol boiled with beaver testicle.
• Birth control advocate A.R. Kaufman was motivated by the fear of "social unrest" due to huge working class families.
• Many prominent Canadians including David Suzuki and June Callwood told CBC Radio that the birth control pill was the most extraordinary scientific achievement of the 1960s.
Broadcast Date: Nov. 11, 1962
Guest(s): Barbara Cadbury, Oakley Dalgleish, Dorothea Ferguson, A.R. Kaufman, Paul Sauriol, Mary Scott, Fr. Edward Sheridan, Paul St. Pierre
Interviewer: George Reynold
Narrator: Rex Loring
Last updated: February 3, 2012
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
A nod to some early pioneers of the birth control movement in Canada.
The miracle tablet is hailed as the remedy for everything from the pop...
Dr. John Rock, co-developer of the
Birth control pill spurs changing sexual attitudes among Canadians.
An in-depth visit with Dr. John Rock, considered the inventor of the c...
Discussing the latest developments in birth control methods.
The Pope's condemnation of the pill lead to a crisis in the Catholic C...
Canadians offer up different views on the pill on the streets of Vanco...
The law finally catches up with the times.
Examining the little tablet's monumental impact.
Dr. Djerrasi talks about his contribution to the birth control pill.
The report concludes that the birth control pill has no long-term ill ...
The pill keeps chugging along.
One tablet, once a day: that routine is followed by as many as 80 mill...