“Pregnancy and labour cause more deaths than oral contraceptives”: The debate on the pill in the Spanish press in the 1960s and 1970s

Teresa Ortiz-Gómez, Agata Ignaciuk

From 1941 to 1978, Franco’s regime in Spain banned all contraceptive methods. The pill started circulating in Spain from the 1960s, officially as a drug used in gynaecological therapy. However, in the following decade it was also increasingly used and prescribed as a contraceptive. This paper analyses debates about the contraceptive pill in the Spanish daily newspaper ABC and in two magazines, Blanco y Negro and Triunfo, in the 1960s and 1970s. It concludes that the debate on this contraceptive method was much more heterogeneous than might be expected given the Catholic-conservative character of the dictatorship. The daily press focused on the adverse effects of the drug and magazines concentrated on the ethical and religious aspects of the pill and discussed it in a generally positive light. Male doctors and Catholic authors dominated the debate.



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