I had no clue that this had happened to the women of Puerto Rico! Being half puerto rican myself, I couldn’t believe I never knew about this disgusting use of experimentation of women’s bodies.
I was pretty overwhelmed with the fact that these people looked down on these women and blamed their “demonic” “greed” for having so many children in poor estates. Using people who are not white to experiment with scary medication/harmful bio-medicine studies in order to find a finalized, safe pill for whites to use is a flabbergasting thought.
I also just recently googled more about this birth control trial and on wikipedia (I know – not the best source…) it even says: “The Puerto Rican women did not know they were experimental subjects. Contraceptives were illegal in the United States but not in the occupied territory so experiments were not regulated in the Island as it was in the mainland. The experimental dosages were many times higher than the legal dose today. Puerto Rican women were poor and many illiterate. This made it easier for researchers to conduct the experiment without the subjects understanding the risks.” It’s just so crazy to me that these women had no idea how dangerous this research was – They weren’t informed at all (birth control side effects can be deadly!) and how the US looked at these people as guinea pigs rather than actual human beings is terrible. This was slightly mentioned at the Teach-In and it also reminded me of what was mentioned about Dr. Marion Sim (how does he still have a statue in central park?!).
“The real kicker? Women of color continued to be used as “guinea pigs” because the FDA, Preciado writes, “felt it threw doubt on the femininity of American women by suppressing their periods altogether.””
^^^^ Great read! 🙂
(New York Times; May 10, 1960)