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The Perspective of Margaret Sanger on Birth Control

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Birth Control in the View of Birth Control Activist Margaret Sanger

Hello. For those of you who know me, I am Margaret Higgins-Sanger. I was born On September 4th 1879 in Corning, New York, by the Corning glass factories. My father was a stonemason and specializes in tombstone making. My mother went through 18 pregnancies, but only 11 of us survived. I attended Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, before enrolling in 1900 at White Plains Hospital as a nurse probationer. In 1902, I married the architect William Sanger and gave up my education. I had three children with William.

Both our suffragettes and our laborers make good points, but one point no one, except W.E.B Du Bois, really touched on, was birth control.

I am a sex educator, and a nurse, so trust me to know what I’m talking about, and why it’s important. In approximately 3000 B.C., the first condom was made from such materials as fish bladders, linen sheaths, and animal intestines and stayed like that until pretty recently. In 1838, condoms started being made from vulcanized rubber. Then, in 1873, the Comstock Act passed in our nation. It prohibits advertising, informing, and the distribution of birth control and allowing the postal service to confiscate birth control sold through the mail. I want to change this.

I plan on opening the first birth control clinic in the United States in a few years. Yes, I have already been arrested for speaking out about this topic. But I believe all of this needs to be said. If these reports are true, there are about 35,ooo women working as prostitutes in New York City alone. They risk exposure to venereal diseases, without the use of proper contraceptives

Is there any reason why women should not receive clean, harmless, scientific knowledge on how to prevent conception? The women of the upper middle class have all available knowledge and implements to prevent conception while women of the lower middle class is struggling for the knowledge. The lower class women try various methods of prevention, and she’s left being ignorant of this information. But the working woman’s purse is thin. It’s far cheaper to have a baby than go to those blood-sucking men with M.D. after their names who perform the operations for the price for so-and-so.

The strongest thing every living thing deals with is sexual impulse. In the present chaos of sex atmosphere it’s difficult for women from the uncertain ages of fourteen to eighteen, to know just what to do when encountering a sexual experience. The don’t know what’s considered clean living without prudishness either. A man is described as a hideous vulture pouncing down upon the young, pure, and innocent girl, then dragged off to his foul den for other men equally as vicious to feed and fatten on her enforced slavery. I believe that the picture this paints in your mind is as gruesome as when it actually happens. Men are taking advantage of the young women of our society. Could any more of a foul and repulsive idea of sex be given to adolescent girls as a preparation of life, and have it be ignorantly called “sex education”?

The society that doesn’t let women talk about proper ways to prevent conception are violating our freedom of speech, our reproductive rights, and our own women’s rights. I hope to provoke a favorable legal decision and challenge the Comstock laws, by deliberately breaking the law by distributing The Woman Rebel, a newsletter, written by me, containing a discussion of contraception.

Why deny the right of the State to deprive women the knowledge that would enable them to be a mother voluntarily or not? Why deny the right of the State to ban the knowledge that would help add to the freedom and happiness of people? Who demands that those individuals who want to live together in love only to then get educated in the ways of conception prevention and will finally be able to know what science has been able to develop to change the way we look at sex today? Who will assist me in increasing the demand for this kind of knowledge to be given out freely to the public? Who will stand with my, and have the courage to fight with me about this outrageous suppression of information so women can prevent motherhood if wanted?

Who is willing to enter the fight with me and continue until the end?

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