Women have come a long way from using half a lemon as a cervical cap, thank god.
From Time Magazine, a little history lesson on the pill:
The driving force to change all this was a woman born in Corning, N.Y., in 1879 to a Catholic mother and a father who carved angels and saints out of marble. When her mother died at the age of 50 after 18 pregnancies, she confronted her father over her mother's coffin and charged, "You caused this. Mother is dead from having too many children."
Margaret Sanger went on to train as a nurse and as early as 1912 was dreaming of a "magic pill" that would prevent pregnancy. She coined the phrase birth control in 1914, the year she was arrested for mailing her magazine the Woman Rebel, an outlaw tract with its discussions of contraceptive use. She jumped bail and fled to Europe but returned two years later and opened the nation's first family-planning clinic in a squalid tenement section of Brooklyn. Arrested again, she served 30 days. But she did not stop.
Aside from Sanger, the conception of the pill (har, har) involved a Catholic fertility specialist, a rabbit-embryo physiologist, the wife of a millionaire schizophrenic, and a host of Puerto Rican test subjects. But the article covers more than that—it touches on the social and public policies that birth control helped shape over the last 50 years, misconceptions about the pill, and why women across the country still have to fight for access to comprehensive family planning options.
The entire article's worth a read if you are a woman or ever vacation in one.