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Ann Arbor, Michigan, UMI Dissertation Services, 1996. , viii, 336 p. (UMI No. 9631613)This dissertation presents a social history of oral contraceptives (OCs) in the US during the period 1950-70. Chapter 1 examines the factors which combined to give birth to the OC. These include the state of scientific knowledge, sexual mores, women's role and status, interest in population control, and the influence of Margaret Sanger and Katherine McCormick, the role of the pharmaceutical industry, clinical trials, and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Chapter 2 covers the introduction of the OC and its reception by physicians, Planned Parenthood, patients, and the media (by examining coverage on health effects, moral effects, the Roman Catholic debate, and population control). The third chapter relates ways the popular press cloaked the OC in social and moral terms during the mid-1960s by reviewing sociological research on premarital sex, demographic research on contraceptive unsafe, the role of the media, and the effect of the OC on population control efforts. Chapter 4 discusses medical controversy and public concern surrounding side effects and complications associated with OC use. Specific topics include early reports on blood clotting and on cancer, reports of the World Health Organization, FDA, and American Medical Association, and responses of physicians and patients to these reports. The final chapter follows the OC into the political arena by reporting on hearings held on "competitive problems in the drug industry" and on the OC. The response of the media, Planned Parenthood, patients, physicians, and feminists is presented, and debates over informed consent and the package insert are noted. The dissertation concludes that the unresolved medical controversies did not compel women to abandon the OC but caused women to worry about their health while taking it. Thus, informed consent procedures were given serious consideration, and the percentage of married women taking the OC dropped from 36 in 1973 to 20 in 1982. The OC's legacy to women is the belief in their right to simple, safe, and reliable contraception.