Sexual politics. While the general permissiveness of the counterculture encouraged sexual freedom, other factors also contributed to the change in attitudes toward sexuality. Oral contraceptives became available, and by 1970, 12 million women were “on the pill.” The use of other means of birth control, such as diaphragms and IUDs, also increased. Many states had already legalized abortion, and the new women's movement was committed to making the procedure even more widely available. Throughout the sexual revolution, which lasted until the onset of the AIDS crisis in the mid-'80s, the birth rate declined and the number of abortions, unwed mothers, and divorces rose. The starting point for contemporary feminism was the 1963 publication of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, which argued that women should be allowed to find their own identity, an
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