Margaret Sanger's unhappy birthday
Sept. 14 marked the 135th birthday of Margaret Sanger, the pioneer for women's rights and contraception. If she were here today, she would be horrified that we're still fighting some of her old battles.
Sanger led the birth-control movement in America in the early part of the 20th century. She was the founder of Planned Parenthood, and she fought endlessly to promote women's rights over their own bodies.
Her work as a nurse, and her mother's early death, which she attributed to a high number of pregnancies, served as a motivation for her cause.
She began her crusade in 1912 by publishing columns in a socialist magazine on sex education and birth control under such headlines as “What Every Girl Should Know” and “What Every Woman Should Know.”
In 1914, with the publication of “The Woman Rebel,” her newsletter promoting contraception, Sanger was forced to flee the United States to escape a possible five-year jail sentence on obscenity charges.
Charges were dropped in 1915, and Sanger returned the following year, opening the first birth control clinic, a move that would land her and her sister in jail for 30 days. Sanger appealed her conviction, and the court ruled that doctors could give information about birth control methods and provide contraception to female patients for health reasons.
In 1920, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which would later become Planned Parenthood.
It's easy to envision that in her time, Sanger would endure much controversy. But it's hard to believe that almost 50 years after her death, we would still be fighting her battles.
Unfortunately, that is the case.
Many Republican-dominated states have been passing unconstitutional, anti-abortion bills that are causing women's health clinics to shut down in devastatingly high numbers.
And Republicans in Congress have introduced bills to defund Planned Parenthood, which would limit women's access not only to abortion but to cancer screenings and birth control information.
Sanger would be appalled. As she said, “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.”
Margaret Sanger was a woman of great courage and foresight. We need more like her if women in the United States will finally be able to call themselves free.
Chaleigh Craft wrote this for Progressive Media Project, a source of commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Snow, freezing rain, bitter cold coming to Western Pa.
- Southbound McKnight Road closed for power line repairs
- Pens again fail to mount comeback against Nashville
- Jerome Bettis to be enshrined in hall of fame
- Fallingwater among Wright buildings nominated for World Heritage List
- Suggestions are aplenty on what Penguins need to break through
- Tennessee quarterback Peterman considers transfer to Pitt
- Familiar Downtown Pittsburgh presence lost arm, leg to train
- Gulls fleeing frozen Great Lakes fill skies over Pittsburgh’s Point
- Voters opt for ‘Don’t Know’ in 2016 presidential race, poll finds
- Iraqi libraries ransacked