Birth Control In The Progressive Era

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The Progressive Era was a time full of social and political reform in the United States. When one thinks of the Progressive Era, men such as Upton Sinclair or W.E.B De Bois may cross their minds. However, many women in this era spearheaded very impactful events such as Florence Kelly with her work against child labor, and Jane Addams with her assistance to the poor. In addition to those, one very controversial movement lead by a woman found its bearings in this era. Originating around 1912, the birth control movement was led by a nurse named Margaret Sanger who fought for reproductive rights for women (Chesler). This movement called for the rights of a women to control her own body and decide for herself whether she should have a child or not. …show more content…
The women of society cannot be truly free if they are trapped and home raising children and not “back[ed] in it by everyone who wishes to see her emerge from the sex-bondage in which she has been held since the beginning of the Christian era (Kauffman).” This argument for birth control contains a solid idea. If a woman decides that she would rather pursue a career than raise children, then she should have that right and option. Furthermore, birth control supporters say that the marriage between two individuals was private and the state or government should not interfere with decisions regarding their marriage. In addition, those who drafted the Comstock laws and other laws limiting women’s reproductive rights were men. It seems quite odd that a group of men were the individuals in charge of regulating what a woman was allowed to do with her body whilst no women were allowed to have a say. Another argument supporting the use of birth control would be that it would lead to happier and healthier families. Families would have a greater chance of happiness if birth control was available because with less children, they would be able to fully provide for the ones they already had and offer them opportunities they otherwise could not receive. …show more content…
She went against the law and published her own paper, books, and articles about women’s reproductive health and birth control. This was an incredibly bold move from Sanger, and was a prime example of how willing she was to risk it all for her movement. She was sentenced to prison for her publications and fled the country where she traveled all across Europe to learn of their forms of birth control. Sanger returned to the states after Anthony Comstock passed away and her charges were dropped. She then used her time to speak publicly about family planning and birth control. Sanger eventually went to prison for her cause after opening the first birth control clinic in the United States ("Women”). Eventually, ground was made when she founded the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau. It was there where she could legally dispense contraceptives and research more effective methods. Then, in 1936, Sanger’s activism granted her a victory. Comstock laws, though not declared unconstitutional, were changed to where birth control would no longer constitute as ‘obscene’ in the states of New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. Later, the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau evolved into the Birth Control Federation of America where she searched for a way to implement an oral contraceptive (Knowles). In 1951, Sanger’s friend and

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