Birth Control: Human Rights Behind Medicine (LS-EU-741)


Contraception is a case with a long history. It is absolutely in line with women’s rights. This history extends from the “chastity belt” to the physical cutting of the clitoris.

Within this historical line, we trace the evolution of hormonal contraception, commonly known as “the pill”. Τhe « pill » appears in the mid-19th century and is strongly associated with feminist activism. This is a typical example of the connection between science and the acceptance of human rights.

In this learning scenario, we study the different forms of contraception by including them in their respective historical context. Next, we examine the evolution of medical science that leads us to more effective and user-friendly forms of contraception to arrive at the technology of hormonal contraception.

This learning scenario is designed for upper secondary students. It’s conceived for a biology course but could easily be adapted to social sciences, philosophy or ethics.

This lesson can be aligned with any curriculum for secondary school education: Reproductive System, Contraception, Human Rights and the Industrial Revolution.

Teva Company. by IPPA Staff – 1973 – National Library of Israel, Israel – CC BY.

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CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Wellcome Collection.




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