Margaret Higgins Sanger (September 14, 1879 – September 6, 1966) was an American birth control activist, sex educator, and nurse. Sanger popularized the term birth control, opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established organizations that evolved into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sanger's efforts contributed to several judicial cases that helped legalize contraception in the United States. Sanger is a frequent target of criticism by opponents of birth control and has also been criticized for supporting eugenics, but remains an iconic figure in the American reproductive rights movement. In 1916, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, which led to her arrest for distributing information on contraception. Her subsequent trial and appeal generated enormous support for her cause. Sanger felt that in order for women to have a more equal footing in society and to lead healthier lives, they needed to be able to determine when to bear children. She also wanted to prevent unsafe abortions, so-called back-alley abortions, which were common at the time because abortions were usually illegal. In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which later became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In New York, she organized the first birth control clinic staffed by all-female doctors, as well as a clinic in Harlem with an entirely African-American staff. In 1929, she formed the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control, which served as the focal point of her lobbying efforts to legalize contraception in the United States. From 1952 to 1959, Sanger served as president of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. She died in 1966, and is widely regarded as a founder of the modern birth control movement. Contents [hide]
1.1 Early life
1.2 Social activism
1.3 Birth control movement
1.4 American Birth Control League
1.5 Planned Parenthood era
2 Views and opinions
2.4 Freedom of speech
4 See also
8 External links
Sanger was born Margaret Louise Higgins to Michael Hennessey Higgins, an Irish-born stonemason and free-thinker and Anne Purcell Higgins, a hard-working, devoutly Roman Catholic Irish-American. Both she and her parents immigrated to Canada when he was a child due to the Potato Famine. At fourteen he immigrated to the USA to serve in the U.S. Army during the Civil War, although he had to wait until he was fifteen to serve in the Twelfth New York Volunteer Cavalry, where he was a drummer. After leaving the army he studied medicine and phrenology, but ultimately chose to become a stonecutter, making stone angels, saints, and tombstones. Michael Hennessey was a ne'er-do-well Catholic who became an atheist and an activist for women's suffrage and free public education. Anne Higgins went through 18 pregnancies (with 11 live births) in 22 years before dying at age 50. Sanger was the sixth of eleven children, and spent much of her youth assisting with household chores and caring for her younger siblings. Supported by her two older sisters, Margaret Higgins attended Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, and then in 1900 enrolled in White Plains Hospital as a nurse probationer. Her 1902 marriage to dashing architect William Sanger ended her formal training. Though Margaret Sanger was plagued by a recurring tubercular condition, she bore three children and the couple settled down to a quiet life in Westchester, New York.
Sanger with sons Grant and Stuart, c. 1919
In 1911, after a fire destroyed their home in Hastings-on-Hudson, the Sangers abandoned the suburbs for a new life in New York City. Margaret Sanger worked as a visiting nurse in the slums of East Side, while her husband worked as an architect and...
References: Sanger with sons Grant and Stuart, c. 1919
This page from Sanger 's Family Limitation, 1917 edition, describes a cervical cap.
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