Margaret Sanger was an early advocate of contraception
Margaret Sanger's contributions to the feminist and sexual liberation movements were crucial. Her work for women's reproductive rights was essential in the eventual mainstreaming of contraception, which had far-reaching effects on women's agency, health, and social standing. Sanger's involvement with eugenics makes her a divisive figure, but her pivotal role in pushing reproductive rights makes her one of America's most influential change-makers.
Margaret Sanger, an American nurse and activist, was crucial to the development of today's approach to birth control. As a staunch supporter of women's reproductive autonomy, she helped elevate the subject of contraception to the forefront of discussions about public health and women's empowerment.
Early Years and Profession
Margaret Higgins Sanger was born into a big Catholic family in Corning, New York in 1879. From a young age, she was confronted by the reality of poverty and women's reproductive concerns. Because of having 18 children in 22 years, her mother's health suffered and she passed away at an early age.
While working as a nurse in New York City's poor Lower East Side, Sanger noticed a correlation between low income, poor women's health, and high rates of childbearing. She came away from them more convinced than ever that women must have access to contraception in order to exercise agency over their own bodies and futures.
Intervention and Legal Obstacles
In 1912, Sanger began writing a column for the socialist New York Call titled "What Every Girl Should Know" in which she advocated for birth control. Here, she addressed taboo subjects like sexual education and birth control head-on.
Sanger was charged for breaching obscenity laws after she published "The Woman Rebel," a feminist magazine that advocated for the use of contraceptives, in 1914. After first evading the charges by going to Europe, Sanger was finally apprehended in 1916 after opening the first birth control clinic in the United States. Her fight in court to overturn the obscene Comstock Act opened the door to a national discussion about birth control.
Leaving a Legacy of Planned Parenthood
Sanger established Planned Parenthood's forerunner, the American Birth Control League, in 1921; today, it is one of the country's most prominent providers of reproductive health services.
Sanger's efforts to legalize birth control for married couples paid off in Griswold v. Connecticut, which was decided by the Supreme Court in 1965. A year later, she passed away, having seen the culmination of her life's labor be upheld by the nation's highest court.