Dr. Mary Calderone, 94, died Saturday after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for the last ten years. Calderone dedicated her life to promoting reproductive health and sex education and ensuring women’s access to contraceptives.
Calderone believed that human sexuality is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and should not be hidden or enveloped with shame. Her tireless efforts prompted the American Medical Association to allow doctors to offer birth control to their patients.
Calderone graduated from Vassar College with a major in chemistry. After giving birth to two daughters, she went on to attend medical school at the University of Rochester, NY where she received an M.D. in 1939. In 1942, Calderone earned a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University’s School of Public Health.
In 1953, Calderone continued her dedication to family planning by becoming became the medical director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and co-founded the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States in 1964. In the 1980’s, Calderone co-authored two books, The Family Book About Sexuality and Talking With Your Child About Sex.
Calderone is survived by her three daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren