NL 2004/03

Seasonale (pill), Nestoron (spray), Austrian Researcher Haberlandt, Catholic Church (Knaus, Krenn)





Dear friend of our projected museum,

Our main focus of collecting is concentrated on the last 100 to 150 years, in which tremendous medical and social developments have profoundly changed society. However, the present and future of our theme will also be documented. Therefore, we are very proud to include two more ‘futuristic’ innovations into our collection: the American pill Seasonale, which reduces menstruations to only 4 times a year, and the Australian contraception spray containing the hormon Nesterone. Thanks to these we can present an interesting tour d’horizon from the very first pill to contraceptive applications of the future. In the consumer’s eye the pill is no longer a pharmaceutical but a common object of everyday’s life. This can be shown by modern approaches to packaging and marketing documented in our museum.

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Further news are to be reported concerning the early beginnings of ‘the pill’: a few eminent Austrian scientists have contributed to its development, for example the Tyrolian chemist Ludwig Haberlandt. In 1931 he wrote: “The problem of hormon sterilisation of the female organism, upon which since 1919 I’ve done experiments as the first researcher… has been published by me already in 1924… I was encouraged in this work recently by the fact that developing a sterilisation pharmaceutical by a big company is well in progress having successfully completed animal testing and starting clinical tests very soon......”.

Our thanks go to Ludwig Haberlandt’s son, Walter – Emeritus of the Institute for Anthropology and Human Genetics in Tübingen - who has generously made available to us extensive material on the pioneer work of his late father.

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The battles against contraception and abortion are shown best by the following positions of eminent representatives of the catholic church.

In 1953, the catholic church commented upon the calculation method of fertile and non fertile days according to Knaus and Ogino: “When the motives (for choosing the time) are .... indecision because of the sacrifices required in order to raise children, or the tendency towards freedom and the opportunities of pleasure which a childless marriage offers, or the desire to keep the economy of the family as high as possible, then such married couples sin because of their wrong basic concept and because of the disregard of the sense of marriage. In order to justify the time method there must be very serious reasons” (in: “The Fertile and Infertile Days of the Woman and their Proper Calculation”; Hermann Knaus, Maudrich, 1953)


The following quotes from more recent history:

When in 1999 the UNO sent 60 000 ‘post-rape-parcels’ including ‘the pill after’ to refugee camps in Albania and Mazedonia, the Vatican stated: “ Usage of ‘the pill after’ is a murderous crime. It is not permissable for women in Kosovo, who have been raped, to use ‘The pill after”. Austrian Bishop Kurt Krenn adds vigorously: “The absolute right of life for the child is of primary importance, no matter how this life has been produced... “ (quoted from the Austrian daily ‘Der Standard’, April 23, 1999).


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In spite of interesting new objects having been donated, we are still happy to receive any objects for the projected museum for contraception and abortion: movies, posters, leaflets, books, documents, statistics; devices and instruments for contraception, for pregnancy-testing and for abortion. from previous & present, here & elsewhere.


However, you can also help us by sponsoring objects which otherwise we would not be able to finance.