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Biomedicine in museums

Contemporary history of 'the morning-after pill'

Heather Munro Prescott, professor of history at Central Connecticut State University and author of A Doctor of Their Own: The History of Adolescent Medicine (Harvard University Press, 1998), is conducting a survey about women’s experiences in using emergency contraception (e.g., ‘the morning-after pill’) — information she will use to strengthen the patient perspective in a forthcoming book on emergency contraception. She writes:

Postcoital methods of contraception were first developed in the early 1960s as part of larger movement to provide reproductive health care to female adolescents and adults. This book will be the first to describe the history of emergency contraception from its beginnings in the 1960s. There are other historical accounts of the development of emergency contraception but they only treat very recent developments over the past two decades. They also only consider the point of view of scientists, physicians, and population groups. My project will use these sources, but will also discuss how women patients played a role in the development of emergency contraception (from her mail to H-SCI-MED-TECH digest #2007-62).

Added 11 April:

I’m looking for stories from anyone who has had experiences with this technology since the 1960s. This includes women of all ages, their partners, health care providers, activists, etc.

You can find the survey at

It would be quite interesting to discuss the methodological usefulness of such surveys for writing the history of contemporary medicine, compared to, e.g., oral history interviews or witness seminars.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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