A Cage of Ovulating Females...
With McCormick’s backing, Pincus set up a lab to put his hormone theory to the test. He injected lab animals with repeated doses of the hormone, progesterone, hoping it would stop ovulation. Within months, Pincus’ hunch proved correct.
But for women, daily injections of progesterone would be painful and costly.
To Pincus’s surprise, the G.D. Searle Company had already developed progesterone in pill form, but was doing little with it. Pincus persuaded his former client to give him samples.
But he still had one final hurdle.
Gregory Pincus wasn’t a physician, he was a scientist. And so he could give the pill to as many rabbits as he wanted to. Rabbits everywhere could take this pill. But he couldn’t give the pill to women. He wasn’t a doctor. He couldn’t run a clinical trial on human beings.
Pincus turned to an unlikely source for help. Sixty-four-year-old John Rock was a renowned infertility specialist. A Harvard obstetrician and gynecologist. And a Catholic.
John Rock was virtually a daily communicant. He had patients over in the old Boston City Hospital as well. And he would go to Mass every morning in the Immaculate Conception church across the street, which was a Jesuit center. He believed in the goodness of people. He believed in the goodness of mankind. He was a deep and profound Catholic.
Not only was Rock constrained by his faith, under Massachusetts’ harsh Comstock laws -- any involvement with birth control could destroy his career.
He was the most important reproductive medicine specialist in the country. He didn’t need to do this. But...he was not only insatiably, intellectually curious- he always wanted to know things that other people didn’t know. He also was in favor of birth control. And as a Catholic, this made him very unique.
After years of delivering unwanted babies, Rock had come to view the church-sanctioned rhythm method as unworkable. Periodic sexual abstinence, he believed, was both unrealistic and
damaging to a marriage.
The prospect, however, of having a Catholic involved in the pill project horrified Margaret Sanger -- herself, a lapsed Catholic.
Mike Wallace Interview with Margaret Sanger
You say that originally the opposition was in all law, and you have to fight against that. Today your opposition stems mainly from where, from what source?