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The birth control pill turns 25

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.

Twenty-five years after the pill's first appearance in Canada, it still remains the most popular method of birth control. The pill has helped loosen attitudes towards sex.
"The pill has made sex much more fun...much more enjoyable... more normal and more healthy which it should be," says Ben Schlesinger, professor of social work, in this clip.

The birth control pill, along with pre-marital sex and career options, are now accepted as the norm for the modern woman. But despite its popularity, questions over the pill's long-term effects remain. As a result, the CBC's Marguerite McDonald reports, the pill's popularity is starting to wane.
• More tests have been carried out on the pill than any other drug in history.
• In the most extensive study of the pill, British doctors conclusively established in 1999 that the risks — slight increase in stroke, cancer and heart disease — run out 10 years after a woman stops taking the pill. The study followed 46,000 women from 1968 to 1993.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 10, 1985
Guest(s): Barbara Cadbury, Connie Clement, Dan Donovan, Judith Nolte, Ben Schlesinger
Reporter: Marguerite McDonald
Duration: 2:14

Last updated: February 3, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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