I began to have cluster migraines, really, really evil headaches. And I asked my physician on a couple of occasions, uh, to take me off the Pill and to start, you know, help me get some other type of birth control going. And I allowed him to talk me out of it on both occasions…
The motto was, “Don’t worry your pretty little head about it,” to the female patient. “Let doctor do the worrying for you.”
That was at a time when...when a male gynecologist dominated uh, women patients, uh, without question. We were father figures. We were taught to be father figures. We were taught never to be questioned. Our judgment about all matters reproductive were uh, never to be questioned.
Doctors were relying on the drug companies and the FDA for information, and both had given assurances that the Pill was safe.
The doctor was blind, the patient was blind and the doctor was deaf and dumb too. You had fifteen million women that weren’t ill to start with, and you gave them a pill and now they were ill. Not all of them, but some of them. And that was a new ball game.
Earlier, during the Puerto Rico study three women had died while participating in the trial. They were never autopsied, and the cause of death remained unknown. Now grim news began to filter through the medical community -- the Pill could kill.
I got up one morning to go to work and I was having one of these headaches. Uh, except this time I had kind of a strange black film over my vision in my right eye and just was terribly ill. I can’t even...I cannot describe the feeling, it was like a wave of fear, I guess, that kind of washed up over me.
The nurses took my blood pressure at which point everyone’s attitude changed. And you know when you see medical people react like that to you, they go from casual to get the doctor now and everybody’s running around looking kind of freaked out, um, it makes an impression. Uh, the upshot was they were guessing that I was having a stroke. That was in fact the diagnosis.
I remember reading about that some woman died. They had a stroke. But I wanted to believe so much that it wasn’t the birth control pill, that it was like, they
probably did something else. You know, it couldn’t have just been the birth control pill. Because I still believed they would not give you something that harmed you.
In 1969, a hard-hitting expose would shake the medical community out of its complacency.
We...we were snookered. We were told that we were given this wonderful gift by modern science, that would make our lives so much better. But there was a very dark side. And the dark side was concealed and denied. It was denied. And a lot of healthy young women died or were left crippled. We can’t ignore that.