Today is not only Mother’s Day – it is also the 50th anniversary of “The Pill,” the oral contraceptive birth control.Like it or not, the arrival of the birth control pill was a momentous occasion in human civilization and has an enormous social impact:

The thought of out-of-wedlock pregnancy struck terror in women in midcentury America, said Claudia Goldin, a professor of economics at Harvard University who has studied the pill’s effect on professional women…

 The proper course of courtship was to go steady, become lavaliered, pinned, then engaged.

“They were a set of steps that led almost irrevocably to marriage, and they were set down at an early age,” she said. “The pill allowed us to get rid of all of those steps.” […]

The pill also has been credited — or blamed — for overturning sexual mores, but there is less evidence that it caused or evenly greatly contributed to the sexual revolution, May said. The nation, she noted, experienced sharp changes in sexual behavior in the 1920s, during World War II, and during the 1960s and ’70s.

Other predictions swirling around at the time of its debut did not come true, May said. The pill did not curb worldwide population growth, create happier sex lives for married couples or reduce rates of divorce.