Well, I think that the opposition, uh, is mainly from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.
Of the church. And you certainly can take no issue with the natural law as the hierarchy of the, uh, Catholic Church, regards it?
Well, I certainly do take issue with it, and I think it’s untrue and I think it’s unnatural...
Well, let me ask you...
Nothing bares it out, and it’s an unnatural attitude to take. And how do they know? I mean, after all, they’re celibates, they don’t know love, they don’t know marriage, they know nothing about bringing up children...or any of the marriage problems of life. And yet they speak to people as if they were God.
Margaret Sanger did have a kind of fanatic anti-Catholicism which was clearly something that went very deep, ah, in her. It was intensely emotional. Ah, but she also had an extraordinary kind of political intuition...
It dawned on her that if you have a Catholic promoting the development of an oral contraceptive and a very prominent Catholic at that, you’ve got a lot more shot at public acceptance among Catholics than you do if you’ve got someone who’s been a known birth control advocate.
Sanger put aside her fears about Rock. “Being a good Roman Catholic and as handsome as a god,” she conceded, “He can just get away with anything.”
In the winter of 1954, under the guise of a fertility study, Rock agreed to test Searle’s pill on a group of fifty women.
And to have this going on in a state where to even talk about birth control publicly was a felony...you know, it’s such marvelous irony.
Katharine McCormick moved east from Santa Barbara to keep close tabs on the trials. As months of careful monitoring dragged on, she complained to Sanger that she was “freezing in Boston for the Pill.”
She’s very impatient for this pill which she calls in one of her letters to Gregory Pincus, “a miraculous implement.” She’s impatient for this pill to be developed.
Finally the data came in. Not one of the fifty women ovulated while on the Pill.
The success of the covert experiment, however, was only a first step. Getting the pill to market would require approval from the Food & Drug Administration, and that would entail a large-scale human trial. In exasperation, Katharine McCormick, asked, “Where can we find a cage of ovulating females?”
Puerto Rico had a network of birth control clinics and no Comstock laws. Pincus called it “the perfect laboratory.”