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Timeline of Gender Movements
Prof. John Rinciari
SS310 – Exploring the 1960’s
November 27, 2012
The pro-contraception movement in the United States had its beginning in the early 20th Century (1914 – 1945). This social reform campaign was aimed at a women’s desire for equality with men and right to privacy and choice and access to legal contraception. It took almost 50 years to achieve the intended result which was to establish contraceptives as a legitimate form of health care. (Journal of Social History, 1985) I will guide you through my timeline to help illustrate events that mark the steps Sanger achieves to achieve legalization of birth control. I will focus primarily on the efforts of Margaret Sanger although she had help from Mary Dennett and Emma Goldman. Their goal was to educate people about contraception as opposed to alternative self-induced abortions among low-income women. The barriers Sanger and her cohorts faced would be considered ridiculous based on today’s standards however this information about contraception was viewed as obscene and lewd material at this time in history. (Nation Women's History Museum, 2007)
In 1916, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, but the clinic was immediately shut down by police, and Sanger was sentenced to 30 days in jail. In 1921 Margaret Sanger organized American Birth Control Conference at the Town Hall Theatre. On the final night just before her speech she was arrested by NYC police for disorderly conduct. It was later discovered that Police were under pressure of Archbishop of New York Patrick Joseph Hayes to shut the meeting down. The town hall raid marked the turning point for the movement and opposition from the medical community and government faded and the church emerged as the most vocal opponent. After this conference Sanger and her supporters founded established the American Birth Control League (ABCL)...
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