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August 15, 1980

The Politics of Contraception

Author Affiliations

Bluefield, WVa


by Carl Djerassi, 274 pp, with illus, $10.95, New York, WW Norton & Co Inc, Publishers, 1979.

JAMA. 1980;244(7):716. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310070064041

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Dr Carl Djerassi, the author of this volume, is more than a writer. He is a chemist, who, at age 28, led the team at Syntex that synthetized the first oral contraceptive agent. He has the view of an industrialist who saw this product marketed. He has wrestled with the problems of making oral contraceptives acceptable to government bodies, consumer advocate groups, and women's liberation organizations. Djerassi states that the contents of this book have simmered within him until they reached the boiling point and were put on paper as a personal outpouring. It is a cry of dismay, which brings him to say that the future of contraception is shaped more by politics than by science.

The book's first three chapters provide basic information about the pill and other forms of contraception. In the next three chapters Djerassi introduces us to a wonderland of politics, where he seems to