I. Introduction. There are many remarkable personalities in our history, which made revolutionary changes in women’s lives. Two of them were Margaret Sanger and Eleanor Roosevelt. They contributed immensely to change the women’s fates and lives and to position them equally with men. Margaret Sanger was born in 1879, in Corning, New York; she was sixth of eleven children of Michel Higgins, an Irish Catholic stonecutter, and religious Anne Purcell Higgins. Her mother went through eighteen pregnancies and died at the age of forty-eight. She studied nursing in White Plains and worked as nurse in one of the poorest neighborhood of New York. In 1902 Margaret Sanger married architect and radical William Sanger. She didn’t finish her studying. Margaret gave birth to three children. In 1912 Sanger’s family moved to Manhattan. All her life Margaret Sanger was a courageous, dedicated and persistent American birth control activist, advocate of eugenics, and the founder of the American Birth Control League. She was first woman opening the way to universal access to birth control.
“No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. Now woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother” said by Margaret Sanger on the decision on whether or not women are allowed to prevent pregnancy (Margaret Sanger Quotes). Margaret Sanger was an activist for women’s right to have a choice in whether they want to prevent childbirth and educator on ways to prevent pregnancy.
Although she had met her goal of legalizing birth control, Margaret Sanger still desired to assist women who were already pregnant but didn’t wish to keep the child. After returning from a national tour in 1916, Sanger opened the nation's first birth control clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn (Katz 1). This, however, was a minor advancement considering that the clinic was raided in its first nine days of operation and she was taken to prison. The
Sanger expresses her ideas of eugenics. In her publication, Margaret says that less people should have kids. Being the founder of Planned Parenthood, she thought that it was a good idea to distribute birth control and later provide abortions. Margaret forced sterilization because she thought it was a way to achieve “Racial Health” as her understanding. Another thing that Margaret believed in was that immigrants shouldn’t be allowed to have babies. Dating back to 1921, this shows how social and cultural division was alive and more powerful than ever even during the 1920’s. Just because a woman is a foreigner, shouldn’t close the doors to women that would want to form a family. Besides, race and culture shouldn’t separate mothers it should unite them so they can all have equal rights as soon to be
Margaret Sanger, a New York and an active feminist, led the fight for contraceptives, which are methods or devices to prevent pregnancy. Sanger, whose mother at a young age because she had birthed eleven children, helped shape her into a very individualistic and assertive woman. She was a part of the Socialist party, while studying to be a nurse, and starting a family of her own. In 1912, she began to work in the slums with the poor immigrant women who lived there. Her experience in the slums with these women, helped shaped her strong opinion on why women should be in control of childbearing. This was not the only thing that shaped it, but helped further her outlook after she was a witness to her own mother’s death. Her final call to action though was the ghastly stories of self-induced abortions and the tales of more than horrific pregnancies.
Founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, in her speech at the 1925 Birth Control Conference, “The Children’s Era,” explains the downfalls in American society when it comes to raising children. Through her speech, Sanger attempts to further promote her nonprofit organization and display the benefits of birth control. She appears to show compassionate characteristics towards children, more specifically future American children as she adopts an urgent tone to encompass her listeners into her ultimate goal: widespread, effective birth control methods.
Despite her involvement in the eugenics movement, Margaret Sanger’s main focus was to advocate for free and unrestricted access to contraceptives to benefit the impoverished citizens of New York.
Many also believed it was the man’s decision as to how many children his wife should have. Sanger continued her quest opening a birth-control clinic in Brooklyn, New York, in 1916; one year later, the authorities arrested her for giving contraceptives to immigrant women (Bowles, 2011). At first glance it appears that Sanger had good intentions. “Others criticized her for involvement with eugenics, which was a scientific movement in which its practitioners advocated the notion that all mental and physical "abnormalities" were linked to hereditary and, with selective breeding, could be eliminated. They questioned whether or not Sanger's insistence on birth control and abortion was in fact a way to limit the growth of ethnic populations” (Bowles, 2011). “Of course, her activism put her directly at odds with law-enforcement officials and the Catholic Church, but little discussed is the actual extent to which her early Marxism guided much of what she managed to achieve. Her good friends included ultra-radicals like John Reed and Emma Goldman, and the truth is that Margaret’s feminism, and her support for eugenic ‘sexual science’, were both simply part-and-parcel of her own unique Marxist vision. Humanitarianism, per se, had little to do with what motivated Margaret Sanger” (Spooner, 2005). Sanger’s actions and motivations are a controversial topic that have been analyzed and debated for years. “According to her New York Times obituary,
The founder of this organization, Margaret Sanger is a strong believer in eugenics. Her believe was that the society should consist of strong individuals and she has executed that belief through targeting black people, who still to this day get more abortions. According to CDC Abortion Surveillance Report, black women have 503 abortions for every 1,000 live births, when white women have 167 abortions for every 1,000 live
Margaret Sanger was not only a birth control activist, she was also an author, a nurse and a sex educator and many of her influences for being an activist come from her family. Born on September 14, 1879, in Corning, New York, she was the sixth of eleven children born into a poor Roman Catholic family (Sanger 14). Her mother had various miscarriages, which Sanger believed affected her mother’s health, and was a devoted Roman Catholic who believed one should conform to the rules while her father was a free thinker who supported women’s suffrage. Sanger attended Claverack College and Hudson River Institute in 1896 and went to study nursing at White Plains Hospital four years later (51). She later married an architect by the name of William Sanger in 1902 and had three children, one of which, her daughter, Peggy, later passed at age five (86). In 1914, however, the couple separated, then divorced in 1921 and a year later Margaret Sanger married an oil magnate by the name of James Henry Noah Slee until 1943 when he passed away. Sanger was always an advocate for birth control, she was an activist her entire life and wanted to help women have their rights. The Birth Control Movement began around 1910 and Sanger was instrumental in the legalization of it. Margaret Sanger devoted her life to help make women’s contraception legal and didn’t stop despite all the obstacles in her way and she faced many consequences because of this. Margaret Sanger took a stand for women 's rights by
Regardless of one’s views on the topic of contraception, Margaret Sanger’s Woman and the New Race helped to break new ground through encouraging women to take control of their bodies. Early in her writing, Sanger brings up overpopulation and how women’s primary role as mothers have contributed to this issue. “While unknowingly laying the foundations of tyrannies and providing the human tinder for racial conflagrations, woman was also unknowingly creating slums, filling asylums with insane, and institutions with other defectives. She was replenishing the ranks of the prostitutes, furnishing grist for the criminal courts and inmates for prisons. Had she planned deliberately to achieve this tragic total of human waste and misery, she could hardly have done it more effectively.” This artfully formed passage shows the passion behind Sanger’s beliefs. While on the surface it may seem that she is attacking women, the point of her idea is to frame the passive nature of women in Western Society up to this point.
The concept of family planning can be traced back to a nurse, sex educator, and political activist names Margaret Sanger. Born in 1879 to a large family (and her mother subsequently died during Margaret’s birth), she was passionate about the ability for women to control their fertility and own their sexuality. Sanger is credited with opening the first birth control clinic in the United States in 1916 (Planned Parenthood, 2013). She went on to found the American Birth Control League, which eventually became Planned Parenthood. Fighting for reproductive justice through advocacy and clinics was just the beginning, however, as Sanger had an ultimate goal: a birth control pill.
“As early as 1914 Margaret Sanger was promoting abortion, not for white middle-class women, but against 'inferior races' — black people, poor people, Slavs, Latin’s, and Hebrews were 'human weeds.” (McCormick Dexter Katherine: Opposition Claims of Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood Federation of America). But evidence was found that Sanger “believed that while abortion was sometimes justified it should generally be avoided, and she considered contraception the only practical way to avoid the use of abortions.” (Sanger, Margaret (1917). Family Limitations, page 5). This would cause a conflict in
Katzive observed that Sanger “faced public outcry and even arrest in her campaign to make contraceptives known and legal for women around the world” (1). She demonstrated valor, passion, and resilience in her campaign for women’s reproductive rights. She believed so actively in her cause that she was willing to overlook laws that she thought to be malicious and risked imprisonment numerous times.
Imagine finding yourself pregnant at the age of 30 with your ninth child. You live in a small apartment and you are unable to feed all of the members of your large family, also clueless as to how to prevent future pregnancies. This story would not be too far from reality for many women over a hundred years ago. It is also similar in ways to the life of Margaret Sanger, a women’s rights activist who is responsible for the family planning movement that started birth control. Margaret Sanger’s mother had 11 children and 18 pregnancies, that definitely took a destructive toll on her body, and she died at only 46 years old (Yasunari 2000). Margaret took notice of what happened to her mother and many other women, inspiring her to make it her life’s work to help women have more control over their bodies and families. Margaret’s work grew famous for the beginning of a birth control movement and the later creation of Planned Parenthood, but it also has a sometimes-dark side of eugenics.