In a world in which even doctors and nurses were ignorant of how to prevent pregnancy, in a world in which it was illegal to teach a married woman how to control her family size, in a world in which countless, illegal, expensive and dangerous abortions were the only alternative to having an unwanted child, a young nurse named Margaret Sanger decided to change the world. Compared to Joan of Arc, Sanger faced colossal stumbling blocks in her quest to make birth control available to all--the Comstock laws, religious objections, dissenters within her own group, ignorance, lack of funds, her own health; she was jailed eight times and was condemned by the church, the medical profession and even by the liberal press. Sanger not only provided America with the most up to date the birth control information the world had to offer, but also put her research into practice, she opened clinics, started her own paper, toured the country and the world lecturing on her cause and left behind both books and invaluable research on both birth control and the women who had needed it the most desperately. The International Planned Parenthood Federation is a testament to Sanger's work. When she began her crusade in 1914, it was illegal for doctors to give information about birth control, within half a century, she had united countries from around the world--all sharing the common goal of making every child a wanted one.
Page authored by Ian Marlier, Sarah Carter, and Gregory Mardirosian for the Seevak Facing History Awards at Boston Latin School, May, 1998.