Here’s how Geoffrey Botkin, who was of college age when the Pill, sexual revolution, and abortion swept through the nation, remembers those times:
Now, sex and recreation were co-joined with the concept of permanent adolescence. An entire generation was listening to Mick Jagger croon, “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” and Jim Morrison scream, “Light My Fire!” That year Hugh Hefner’s theology was a big part of this new culture. It circulated wildly in the locker room, teaching my peers the joys of predatory, zero-consequence freedom. The pill, after all, had rescued the fortunes of Playboy magazine, which in turn created a bigger market for the pill, along with massive magazine revenues Hefner spent on court cases making birth control legal in all 50 states. Federal bureaucrats were doing their part in the revolution, not just giving pills to poor minorities (per Lyndon Johnson), but to school girls (per Margaret Sanger). Margaret Sanger died that year, 1966, in the knowledge that 12 million women were ingesting and making the most of her “magic pill.” Her eulogizers remembered these famous phrases:
[Our objective is] unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children.
[Women must have the right] to live … to love … to be lazy … to be an unmarried mother … to create … to destroy.
The marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order.
The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.
“The Woman Rebel,” Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922]
The next year, pill revenue exploded to $150 million. Hollywood’s “Prudence and the Pill” made artificial birth control a point of comedy, a cool icon of pop culture. No one was ashamed of Margaret Sanger any more. And no one saw what was coming.
My headstrong peers graduated to yet greater social freedoms, with fewer and fewer responsibilities. The first year of dorm life in college was an opportunity for unlimited indulgence and uninhibited childishness. When the pill didn’t work, my peers threw tantrums to demand a backup, another “fix” for the wages of indulgence. It came that year, right on time, with Roe v. Wade. I remember campus discussions about legalized abortion.
“It’s murder, isn’t it?”
“Of course it’s murder. Everybody knows it’s murder. But it’s legal. And it’s just a baby. The Supreme Court said it’s totally OK to abort. So it’s totally OK.”