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The Pill: no heir apparent

Carl Djerassi, who helped develop the first oral contraceptive, sees a future in which sex becomes entirely divorced from reproduction

By Carl Djerassi   September 2011

An employee of a family planning NGO distributes contraception to students in the Philippines, as part of World Population Day in July

How many people—other than those trying to hide their age—celebrate the same birthday in successive years? And why should that happen to a drug? In 2001, people celebrated the 50th birthday of the contraceptive Pill; nine years later, a media frenzy exploded with another 50th anniversary. Now, in 2011, we are doing it again by commemorating the date, 50 years ago, when the Pill was authorised in Britain. All this would seem to indicate that the Pill…

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