The Dalkon Shield Scandal
The Dalkon Shield was a highly controversial Intrauterine Device (IUD) available in the early 1970's. IUD's have been used historically, but the first modern device, a Polish model, did not appear until 1909 (Perry 9). The devices were not available for American use until the 1960's. They were made of plastic with a multi-purposed tail attached. The tail assured the wearer than the device was in place as well as allowing doctors to remove them if desired (Wikipedia Encyclopedia). This device, the "superior modern contraceptive" was heralded as revolutionary (Bloss). It could be inserted and then forgotten, no pills necessary.
Evidence of negative side effects of oral contraceptives began to accumulate in 1962 (Perry 25). It was decided, as voiced by Dr. Hugh Davis, director of the Family Planning Clinic at John Hopkins University, that first, poor women needed contraceptives that required less effort than the pill, and middle and upper class women needed something safer (Grant 31).
IUD's were promoted by the International Conference of Intrauterine Devices (Perry 23). It was sponsored by a group of individuals interested in population control.
Population control advocate Garrett Harden was quoted as saying, "even if IUDs fail for 10% of women, they are a blessing to any country as a whole (Grant 72)." The lack of concern for the wellbeing of women did not stop there. The opening statement of the conference, given by Dr. J. Robert Wilson, sought to undermine the problems, specifically pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), women were having with IUD's. He claimed that women contracting PID were insignificant. He stated that within the greater context of civilization, women contracting the disease were not important. It was more vital to use IUD's to control population growth than to protect women from disease. He said, "The individual...