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The Morning After
A History of Emergency Contraception in the United States
Heather Munro Prescott (Author)
180 pages, 4 illustrations, 6 x 9
Series: Critical Issues in Health and Medicine
History: Medicine and Nursing, Women's Studies
Since 2006, when the “morning-after pill” Plan B was first sold over the counter, sales of emergency contraceptives have soared, becoming an $80-million industry in the United States and throughout the Western world. But emergency contraception is nothing new. It has a long and often contentious history as the subject of clashes not only between medical researchers and religious groups, but also between different factions of feminist health advocates.
The Morning After tells the story of emergency contraception in America from the 1960s to the present day and, more importantly, it tells the story of the women who have used it. Side-stepping simplistic readings of these women as either radical feminist trailblazers or guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical industry, medical historian Heather Munro Prescott offers a portrait of how ordinary women participated in the development and popularization of emergency contraception, bringing a groundbreaking technology into the mainstream with the potential to alter radically reproductive health practices.
"Prescott provides an engrossing and many-angled account of the origins and development of emergency contraception in the United States through to 2010."
—Bulletin of the History of Medicine
"Prescott offers an incisive history of one of the newest forms of birth control, one that could reduce the need for abortion while guaranteeing women's control--because we all make mistakes."
—Linda Gordon, Florence Kelley Professor of History, New York University
"The Morning After is a richly detailed history of the development of one of the least known or understood forms of birth control, emergency contraception. Highly recommended."
"The Morning After tells the dramatic story of the decades-long effort to achieve effective and accessible emergency contraception, and demonstrates the power of feminist activism to gain women’s reproductive rights."
—Elaine Tyler May, America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril and Liberation
"Heather Munro Prescott's timely book offers insight into the scientific, historical, and political contexts of [reproductive] policy decisions. This is a complex story to tell in a slim volume, and yet it offers an enticing first attempt at both adding this chapter to the history of reproductive rights and broadening the scope of such research to include science and public policy."
—Journal of American History
"Heather Munro Prescott has written an important and timely book that fills a significant gap in the literature on contraception and significantly deepens our knowledge of reproductive medicine."
—Rebecca M. Kluchin, author of Fit to be Tied
"The Morning After sheds light on how contraceptive technologies bring together diverse groups working to improve women’s reproductive health
—Studies in Family Planning
"Munro Prescott’s analysis of how emergency contraception fits into the American healthcare matrix is insightful and incisive, providing a new perspective on the social, philosophical, and medical history of contraceptives in American society."
—Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Author / Editor Bio
HEATHER MUNRO PRESCOTT is a professor of history at Central Connecticut State University. She is the author of Student Bodies: The Impact of Student Health on American Society and Medicine and the award-winning A Doctor of Their Own: The History of Adolescent Medicine.
Table Of Contents
List of Abbreviations
1. A Second Revolution in Birth Control
2. Courageous Volunteers
3. Feminist Health Activism and the Feds
4. Balancing Safety and Choice
5. Building Consensus
6. Mainstreaming Emergency Contraception
7. From Paternalism to Patient Empowerment