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Contraception the focus of Women’s History Month event

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Students at Cosumnes River College gathered in LRC-103 on March 19 to watch a documentary called “The Pill,” detailing the controversy surrounding women’s contraception.

The film explores the history of women’s birth control and Margaret Sanger, a women’s rights advocate of the 1950s.

“This, the pill, being able to expand people’s options for contraception, gave women tremendous opportunities,” said psychology professor James Frazee, PhD. “That’s why it’s important, because it gives them opportunity.”

Until the 1960s, there were laws in the United States that prohibited the use of contraceptives, or even talk of contraception. Birth control was regarded as inappropriate, and was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church.

Sanger not only fought to remove restrictive laws on birth control, she also worked with scientist Gregory Pincus to create the first preventative birth control pill. After trials of the pill were successful, the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug’s use on May 11, 1960.

Sold as a treatment for menstrual disorder, Enovid was prescribed to women across the country, fulfilling Sanger’s dreams.

“[Sanger] was a pretty dedicated woman,” said Alexis Marquez, a 19-year-old nursing major. “She had a cause, she put it to work, and she accomplished a lot.”

After the film, Frazee held a question and answer session to expand upon the ideas presented in the documentary. He discussed other contraceptives and their significance to women’s equality.

“Women were desperate for something that they could do to prevent getting pregnant. It was out of their hands,” Frazee said. “This was something that was pushed upon them from a societal standpoint and they were desirous and in need of something that they could do.”

“The Pill” and Frazee showed students how the lives of women changed with the ability to prevent pregnancy.

“The pill is a big part of women’s history and a big part of their movement to show that women were equal to men, as opposed to them being just the housewives,” said 21-year-old nursing major Kris Casteel.

During the questions after the movie, Frazee was sure to highlight the significance of taking hormones.

“Does that mean that hormonal birth control is great and wonderful? No. You’re taking medicine. It comes with consequences. Some of the good consequences are that it prevents pregnancies really really well,” Frazee said.

In the end, Frazee stressed the importance of contraception-planning pregnancy, and the way that it allows women to have independent lives.

“You can be my academic equal now, and you can be part of a family,” Frazee said. “Whereas before you got a bunch of kids. You’re not going to be able to do the same things that you would be able to pursue now.”

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Contraception the focus of Women’s History Month event