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50 Years Ago

Early birth control study probed effectiveness of pill

Excerpt from the April 17, 1965 issue of Science News Letter

By
3:00pm, April 2, 2015
Birth Control

POTENT PILL   A 1960s study probed birth control pills’ effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. Researchers are still trying to make a pill for men.

Birth control pill found safe for 11,711 women — Women have used certain birth control pills for as long as 3½ years without developing new side effects, physicians from Planned Parenthood–World Population reported. In a study group of 11,711 women, the progestin-estrogen tablet taken as directed was “100% effective.”… No unplanned pregnancies occurred among women enrolled in the study. — Science News Letter, April 17,1965

UPDATE

First marketed as contraception in 1960, the pill is very effective but not perfect. If users take a tablet every day, less than 1 in 100 will get pregnant each year. Typical use, including some missed doses, puts the rate closer to 9 in 100. Meanwhile, scientists have yet to create

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