September 14 ~  Struggle for Expression Birth Control in America

"Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression." ~ Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger

Feminist and birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) was born Margaret Louise Higgins on this day in Corning, New York. Her crusade began when she watched her mother's deterioration and death from 11 childbirths.

"The real hope of the world lies in putting as painstaking thought into the business of mating as we do into other big businesses," she once said.

Trained as a nurse, Sanger became an advocate for family planning, she coined the term "birth control." She fought with tenacity for women at a time when women did not even have the right to vote.

"No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body," she said, defying church and state. "No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother."

Charismatic and controversial, in 1914 Sanger published the then-radical newspaper The Women Rebel which featured the masthead slogan, "No Gods; No Masters!" Two years later, she opened the first family planning clinic in Brooklyn, then was arrested and jailed for 30 days.

In 1921, she established the American Birth Control League which eventually became Planned Parenthood. She believed: "The first right of every child is to be wanted, to be desired, to be planned for with an intensity of love that gives it its title to being."

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