Friday, July 23, 2010

Uppity Women #19

Margaret Sanger

"It is a vicious cycle; ignorance breeds poverty and poverty breeds ignorance. There is only one cure for both, and that is to stop breeding these things. Stop bringing to birth children whose inheritance cannot be one of health or intelligence. Stop bringing into the world children whose parents cannot provide for them. Herein lies the key of civilization. For upon the foundation of an enlightened and voluntary motherhood shall a future civilization emerge."

Margaret Sanger's Catholic mother lived through 18 pregnancies, had 11 children and died of TB and cervical cancer. A nurse, Sanger thought the idea of women being able to determine when and IF they wanted to have a child was paramount. She also thought that being able to have sex without fear of pregnancy might be a really good idea. Sanger and her husband, architect, William Sanger were arrested and charged under the archaic Comstock Law which banned dissemination of contraceptive information as lewd.

We take contraception for granted these days. It was not until 1972 that the last laws banning dissemination of contraceptive devices was overturned.

Sanger was controversial not just because of her stance on birth control but because of her thoughts on eugenics, masturbation (against!) and immigration.

Her legacy is Planned Parenthood. But I'm sure she'd still be outraged that many women must pay out of pocket for birth control and that their health insurance will not cover it.

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment