Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Mieography

For the first time in my mieography history, I am going to repeat someone.

I did this lady before I was "officially" doing the mieographies.
I chose her, (and choose her again) because what she did for women was SO VERY important,
and I am re-doing her because I wasn't too very thorough the first time.
She is so one of my favorite women. I just admire the hell out of her!

So, another Margaret.
Margaret Sanger was born in Corning, New York. Her mother was a devout Roman Catholic, who experienced eighteen pregnancies, (with eleven live births) before she died of tuberculosis and cervical cancer. Her father earned his living chiseling tombstones, and was, surprisingly, an advocate for suffrage, free public education, and, socialism. Being the sixth of the eleven surviving siblings, Margaret spent much of her time doing household chores, and taking care of her younger siblings. Her older sisters managed to get her out, for awhile, to be educated for two years, but when her mother got sick, she needed to come home. She nursed her mother until she died, then she went into a nursing program, and married an architect. She settled in NYC with her husband, but soon developed tuberculosis herself. The couple moved, to Saranac, NY, where she gave birth to her first baby, Stuart.
Their family home burnt down, and back to NYC they went. She went to work on the East Side of Manhattan, and also started writing a column for "The New York Call" called what Every Girl Should Know". Risking imprisonment, she also distributed a pamphlet called Family Limitation. The Comstock Law of 1873 was still in place, and enforced, and this outlawed the dissemination of contraceptive information and devices.
Margaret felt like women needed to be able to decide when they wanted to be pregnant, and, that women should be able to enjoy sexual relations without the fear of getting pregnant. She was working with the poor women on the Lower East Side who were constantly suffering through frequent childbirths, induced abortions, and miscarriages. She became more verbal in her demands that women become knowledgeable about birth control. The only birth control advice given by doctors at this time was abstinence. Margaret had made a friend, Sadie, and this was the advice that Sadie's doctor gave her. A few months after, Sadie was found dead, from a self induced abortion. This was a turning point in Margarets life.
She separated from her husband, and in 1914, she began a monthly newsletter entitled "The Woman Rebel", which promoted contraception. The slogan of the magazine was "No Gods and No Masters". She coined the term "birth control in this newsletter as well.
She was indicted for violating US postal obscenity laws, but she jumped bail, and went to England as "Bertha Watson". She returned to the united states, however, in time to see her daughter, Peggy, who died not soon after at the age of five.
Her husband was jailed for thirty days for distributing "Family Limitations" to an undercover postal worker. While she was traveling in Europe, Margaret saw, for the first time, a diaphragm, and she was convinced that it was more effective than the suppositories and douches that she had been distributing. She began smuggling them in after she returned home, being the first to introduce them to the United States.
1916 found "What Every Girl Should Know" turn into a book. It was followed by "What Every Mother Should Know". She launched another periodical, called The Birth Control Review and Birth Control News", and opened a family planning clinic in Brooklyn. It was raided on its ninth day of operation. She went to prison for a month. Not soon after, a Judge finally wrote an opinion allowing doctors to prescribe birth control.
She then founded the American Birth Control League, and traveled to Japan to promote birth control there, as well. She and her first husband had divorced, by this time, and she married an oil tycoon, James Slee. With the help of money, she was finally able to open a legal birth control clinic, the first of its kind. It had an all female staff of doctors and social workers. She continued on with her work, traveling, providing information about birth control, and continued to write for her own publications, and others. In the 1960's, she actively promoted the birth control pill. She toured Europe, Asia, and Africa lecturing, and establishing clinics.
She died in 1966, in Tucson, Arizona, eight days before her 87th birthday. A few months before, her life goal had been realized. A legal decision had been passed allowing for married couples in the United States to use birth control...