| BioEdge | Sunday, June 11, 2017 |
In mid-1957 the US Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Enovid as a treatment for menstrual disturbance. It went on to approve its use as a contraceptive in 1960, after studies indicated the drug’s safety and efficacy.
An editorial in Nature this week catalogues the tumultuous history of the first oral contraceptive since 1957, celebrating its wide availability today. Once a social taboo, the article reports that in 2015 the contraceptive-drug market was worth more than US$6.1 billion globally. And a 2015 UN report stated that approximately 9% of women worldwide used The Pill.
The editors suggest that The Pill has been associated with increased enrollments in college for younger women, as well as an increase in average income. Margaret Sanger, they reflect, “maybe...would be celebrating” despite the “lack of political will” to make contraceptives more available in developing countries.The anniversary comes at an interesting time, as Catholics prepare to mark the 50th anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae in 2018. Humanae Vitae (1968) deemed artificial contraception to be against both natural ethics and Christian morality, and has provided a strong counterpoint to the near universal endorsement of contraception within North America and Europe.
Sunday, June 11, 2017
We may have over-egged today’s newsletter with stories about surrogacy, but they all appeared this week with a common theme: what about the mothers? The accepted wisdom is that most mothers are well compensated and give up the child happily.
Take the case in England of a surrogate mother who has just been jailed for 22 weeks for stalking a judge and a court welfare officer. The terrified family court judge had awarded the child she bore to the commissioning gay couple even though Lian Harris had changed her mind and wanted to keep it.
Ms Harris snapped.
Over a year she harassed the judge, protested outside the house of politicians and lawyers, unfurled a banner on Westminister Cathedral saying “Family courts do evil”, attempted to fasten herself to the second-floor balcony of the social worker’s home, and tried to organised harassment on Facebook, amongst other stunts.
Not a happy camper.
Ms Harris is said to be an exceptional case. But how do we know? Where are the longitudinal studies to prove that surrogate mothers live happily ever after once they surrender the child they carried for nine months?
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