Roberta did this research; we were wondering about Peggy’s access to the Pill (Enovid) in Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. We know that the episode takes place in March or April of 1960, but the FDA didn’t approve Enovid for contraceptive use until June 23, 1960. Could it be a goof? We didn’t think it was a goof, because it’s major, and they’re sooo careful. But there it was, approval on June 23, 1960.

Then Roberta found this:

On May 9, 1960, the FDA announced it would approve Enovid 10 mg for contraceptive use, which it did on June 23, 1960, by which time Enovid 10 mg had been in general use for three years during which time, by conservative estimate, at least half a million women had used it.

It’s maybe the worst sentence structure in the history of paragraphs, but if you parse it veeeeeery sloooowly, you can see it says that U.S. women—at least a half million—had been using Enovid for three years at the time of official approval.

Which means it’s not a goof, and strongly justifies Peggy’s ignorance of exactly how it works.

In a related vein, an author and professor is seeking personal stories about Pill use for a forthcoming book. Since we’ve discussed it here, I thought it might be of interest to our readers.

The Pill is often considered one of the most important innovations of the twentieth century. As I investigate this claim for a new book—set for release on the 50th anniversary of the Pill’s FDA approval (Basic Books, 2010)—I’m looking to include the voices and stories of real people. I hope yours will be one of them. I’m eager to hear from men as well as women, of all ages and backgrounds.

I hope to hear from you. Please write to me at

(Click through for the whole explanation and description of what is being requested.)

This is all especially meaningful because the American Life League (ALL) is planning a “Protest the Pill Day,” and is promoting 100% false information about the Pill (that it causes abortion). Click through for details on this battle.