The History of Contraception

The History of Contraception - The Contraceptive Chronicles

The History of Contraception – For almost as long as humans have existed, we’ve been trying not to get pregnant, often in some interesting and creative ways…

1850 B.C.

The Egyptian pessary is the earliest contraceptive device for women. A concoction made of crocodile dung, honey, and sodium carbonate is inserted into the vagina to block and kill sperm.


U.S. Congress passes the Comstock laws, making all forms of contraception illegal. Still, the contraceptive industry flourishes. Products are marketed as promoting “feminine hygiene.” The Comstock laws stay on the books until 1965.



Margaret Sanger opens the first family-planning and birth-control clinic in the United States. Nine days later, police raid the clinic. Sanger serves 30 days in prison.


1920S TO 1960S

The most popular female contraceptive is Lysol disinfectant. Ads tout it as a feminine hygiene product and include testimonials from European “doctors.” Later investigation by the American Medical Association shows these experts don’t exist.

Even worse, Lysol is found not to work as a contraceptive, and several women allegedly die from using it, while others suffer severe inflammation and burns.

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