Margaret Sanger was a very important and influential person of her time. Back then, women were often mistreated and had many unwanted pregnancies. Lacking effective contraceptives, these women resorted to unsafe and cheap abortions. Margaret Sanger wanted to help women gain planned parenthood while using safe and legal birth control methods. She also wanted to end government censorship of abortion information. This was because Sanger thought it was unfair how the government didn’t want women to have access to abortion information, stating that abortion is a criminal activity.
Although Margaret Sanger wanted to improve the lives of many women, she had many eugenic ways of thinking. For instance, she wanted to create a society with a superior race, and thus did not want lower class immigrant women to have more children. She also wanted to improve the human race by preventing certain types of people to reproduce (i. e. mentally ill, homosexuals, African Americans). People were attracted to Sanger’s movement because Sanger advocated the idea that women should have the right to control their own bodies, and when they want to have children.
Margaret Sanger’s era was a time when discussion about sexuality was illegal. Her works were basically the only source of information for women to learn about their bodies. But, one the the many challenges Margaret Sanger faced was government censorship of her work. For instance, in 1911, Sanger wrote “What Every Girl Should Know,” but the United States government summed up its education policy for women, and made the article read, “What Every Girl Should Know: Nothing. ” Yet another challenge Sanger faced was the fact that her ideas were against the Catholic Church and its beliefs.
Christian beliefs say that it is wrong to end the life of a child, and Sanger went against the church’s morals by presenting the idea of birth control. Throughout her movement, Sanger was arrested several times for expressing her views during an era in which speaking publicly about abortion was illegal. During many times in her career, local government officials prevented Sanger from publicly speaking by threatening her hosts. Margaret Sanger used many tactics to try and inform the public about her ideas.
For instance, in 1914, Sanger published “The Woman Rebel,” an eight page monthly newsletter that promoted abortion and birth control. In 1917, she also published “The Birth Control Review,” which presented the idea of eugenics, or the idea that the human race could be improved if certain types of people did not reproduce. Another tactic that Sanger used was giving public lectures about abortion. During these talks, she advocated birth control to improve society’s health, women’s rights, and eugenics. Most of Sanger’s goals were achieved.
In 1916, she opened the first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. Also, doctors could legally prescribe birth control for patients. Another achieved goal was that birth control got more advanced--people can now swallow birth control pills instead of the diaphragm. This is all thanks to Gregory Pincus, who invented the birth contraceptive pill in the 1950’s. One effect that Sanger’s movement has on us today is that birth control is safe and legal, and many women can have planned parenthood nowadays. Also, birth control is easily accessible to women who need it.
Another effect is the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), a non-profit organization that provides reproductive health services. The organization was originally named the American Birth Control League, but later on became known as the PPFA. One of Margaret Sanger’s quotes was, “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother. ” Here, Margaret Sanger supports her idea of how women should be able to control their own bodies.
Sanger wanted women to have the right to decide whether or not to be a parent. Another quote said by Margaret Sanger was, “[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring. ” Here, Sanger presents one of her eugenic ideas, saying how people with bad genetics should be sterilized, and should not pass those bad genes to their children. She wants to segregate the “fit” people from the “unfit” people.