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Friday, October 12, 2007

History, anyone?



This is Margaret. Margaret Higgens Sanger, to be exact.
She was born in 1879, one of 11 children her parents had. Her Mother was pregnant 18 times.
Margaret grew up in New York City, and went to nursing school. She couldn't finish, because she got married, and contracted tuberculosis, and had 3 babies. Her mother died young, and Margaret always remembered this. With her nurses training, in 1916, she (illegally) opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. She is actually credited with coining the term 'birth control'. She was raided, and closed down 30 days later. She spent 30 days in jail, where she suffered much abuse.
Margaret, never a quitter, went on to found the American Birth Control league in 1921. This later became Planned Parenthood.
Between 1921-1926 she received over ONE MILLION letters from mothers requesting information on birth control. Of course, she answered these letters.
She was indicted for "mailing obscenities". She fled to Europe, learned more about Birth Control, and stayed until the charges were dropped. She and her husband were divorced by this time. While in Europe, she had affair's with H.G. Wells, and Havelock Ellis, a sex therapist.
She came back, and continued her work, and ended up in the work house for "creating a public nuisance".
Margaret eventually remarried, and continued fighting for Women's Rights, and Freedom of Speech until her death in 1966. She is a very controversal figure in Women's History. The right to life movement is not overly fond of her, (though she was never a proponent of abortion, per se.).
I've always liked Margaret. She saw a need, and during her time, there were not many women who were willing to step up and address that need. She watched her mother suffer through 18 pregnancies. She saw the turmoil and heartache of those lost babies. And she watched her mother die young from a body that was just too used up. She wasn't malicious, she wasn't militant in her opinions. She just wanted women to be able to stay healthy, and be able to actually see their children grow up, not die from birthing too many.

So, thank you Margaret Sanger. For looking out for women, and being a strong example in a time when they desperately needed one.

6 comments:

CamiKaos said...

cheers to her!

David in DC said...

You don't see enough about this brave woman. Good call for a blog post.

Yay Mielikki.

If you want to do a series of these, I nominate Mother Jones. Another truly amazing, brave woman, who took no shit from anybody.

Bubblewench said...

That is cool.

n said...

you go girl! Nana

mielikki said...

Thanks for the Margaret cheers, everyone. She is actually one of my favorite, yet unrecognized people.
And yes, I rather like the idea of doing a series of historical figures. And the first ones WILL probably be strong women. Mother Jones is a definate post all herself.

sybil law said...

She rocks.
Now why won't that damn mommy cat die from all her pregnancies?
Great post....