March 24, 1890

Birth Control Pioneer Born


On this day in 1890, birth control pioneer John Rock was born in the small Massachusetts town of Marlborough. He was a deeply religious Catholic even as a child. After college and medical school at Harvard, he specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology. His research into the causes of infertility produced a clearer understanding of the cycles of fertility and provided the scientific basis for an oral contraceptive. The drug he helped develop was enormously popular with women, but it generated great social and religious controversy. John Rock never succeeded in persuading the Vatican that the Pill was a "natural" form of birth control. Devastated, he withdrew from the church that he loved so much.

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