John Rock (1890–1984)

Medical doctor, inventor of the Pill

Born in Massachusetts, Rock was long a professor at Harvard University Medical School. He was a devout Catholic at the time he invented the birth control bill and promoted the Pill actively in national news media. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960, use of the Pill became a hotly contested moral issue among Catholics in the 1960s. Pope Paul VI reiterated traditional Church teaching prohibiting the use of artificial contraceptives in Humanae Vitae (1968), an event that led to Rock's disillusionment with the Church.