Margaret Higgins Sanger ( 1879- 1966), was an American Pioneer in the birth control movement, was born in corning, New York., on September 14, 1879, the sixth of eleven children. Educated at Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, she hoped to become a physician but was obliged to compromise on nursing. She married William Sanger in 1990, and although they were divorced in 1913, she retained his name for professional purposes even after her marriage to J. N. H. slee the following year.
As a nurse in New York City, Mrs. Sanger became aware of the poverty and death resulting from over- large families and abortions. Prevented by the Comstock Law of 1873 from providing a formation on contraception, 1912 she wrote two series of articles “What Every Mother should know” and “What Every Girl should know”. In 1914 she founded the National Birth Control League and established a monthly magazine, The Woman Rebel. The next year she circulated through the mail a pamphlet, Family Limitations, for which she was indicated; but the case was dropped.
In 1916 Mrs. Sanger opened the first birth-control clinic in America, in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. She was again indicted and served 30 days in prison. In the same year she established the Birth Control Review, which she continued to publish until 1928.
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Seeking to persuade both the medical profession and the public of the importance of her cause, Mrs. Sanger traveled throughout the country and the world on lecture. She organized the first national and international birth control conferences. In 1923, she established the Clinical Research Bureau, staffed with physicians, social workers and technicians. In a police raid on the clinic in 1926, doctors’ records were seized.
As a result of this violation of the principle of medical privacy, the profession rallied to defend its right to dispense the information where it was considered advisable, and the clinic resumed its work. In 1932, with the sponsorship of many Protestant Churches organizations, Mrs. Sanger initiated the national Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control. Four years later, a U.S District Court upheld the right of physicians to became obsolete. In 1937 the American Medical Association publicly endorsed birth control.
The National Birth Control League and the clinics were combined in 1942 in the Planned Parenthood Association of America, with Mrs. Sanger as honorary chairman. For the purpose of checking the world population explosion, this was later expanded into the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Among her works are The Case for Birth Control in1917; The Pivot of Civilization in 1922; My Fight for Birth Control in 1931; and Margaret Sanger, an Autobiography in 1938.
Margaret Sanger is considered as one of the Nursing Leader along with her are Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, Lillian Wald, Lavinia Dock and Mary Breckinridge. Sanger made a notable contribution both to nursing history and also in the women’s history. She was a politically astute pioneer. Her skills at influencing others and bringing about change remain models for political nurse activists today.
As a public health nurse in New York, she was much exposed to the country’s social problems such as abortion. She made a lasting impact on women’s health care. Her imprisonment in the opening of her first birth control information in America did not stop her from doing service with her fellow men. She is considered founder of Planned Parenthood. Her experience with the large number of unwanted pregnancies among the working poor was instrumental in addressing this problem.
Margaret Sanger died in Tuscon, Arizona on September 6, 1966 due to Tuberculosis and Cervical Cancer. What she had undergone during her pregnancies where in she had some miscarriages also led her to the idea of Life and Health protection. She is considered as one of the most important person in this century due to her great contributions and mind opening ideas about contraception and life preservation. She really defended the rights of women and the protection of their health by making the Planned Parenthood and the establishment of birth control practice.
Poverty did not stop Margaret Sanger from being a successful nurse. She wanted to be a doctor but just settled in nursing. As she opened her first clinic, her purposed persons were the poor and rich individuals in America. The Victorians and other physicians refuted and rebutted Sanger’s ideas. Due to this event, she left the league and started to have teachings in the different social class in America about planning and the importance of the health of the women in bearing children. Through this, Sanger had educated a great number of individuals whom she has helped with her client teachings.
It is because of Margaret Sanger that birth control are widely distributed and are of easy reach to those individuals who needed it the most. What she established did great impacts on the U.S society that until is being followed and widely used also worldwide. If it is not for Sanger, we would not be made educate on the proper planning of having kids and to avoid abortion because life is precious and is a gift. Her established plans and projects helped in starting or developing Planned Parenthood and National Organizations for Women which the only aim is to protect the women from any forms of health illness.
Also, through Sanger; many denominations perceive birth control in a different perspective. Although there are still some Religion that is really against it, the good things is that it is only a minority. Many of the different denominations worldwide are following her ideas about planning to have children. Sanger fought for the rights of the women being easily exploited by the men because of uneducation about their health and what are the things they are ought to do. She was very much sensitive to the needs of the women, maybe due to what she experienced and what she saw from her beloved mother.
She viewed Sexuality as a form frailty. She also perceived firmly that Masturbation was perilous because for her this habit is one thing that once you started will never be out from your system, you will always find time to do it and seek its happening. Sanger also believed that if you masturbate a lot, there is a tendency that you have a poor possibility to do sexual intercourse in a natural way. She also perceives that Masturbation is not just doing it physically but by also letting the mind work. A teenager, a young man or woman imagines sexually explicit things in her mind and when this is always being done this comes out naturally.
She also is an advocate of Eugenics, the process of selective breeding to improve heredity. She believed that all should be respected and heard regarding ones views and perception. She was imprisoned several times due to her ideas about parenthood planning but still she continued until she became successful in her field of expertise. She now is symbolic person who contributed much to the world’s awareness and especially in the awareness of the American Society.
Although instigated by organizations that are for or pro for life, she continued to do her part to help the women. Many leaders admired her and one of them was Martin Luther. Indeed Sanger left a legacy that all of the people when they will come to know and understand, will really admire her for her strength and her courage to fight for the rights of the women amidst the persecutors around her. She was such a woman sympathizer, a woman who was toughen by time and experiences would also want to help other women to be healthy , be protected from diseases, and have the right to promote and plan a family.
Until her death, she believed that abortion is really a wrong choice. Abortion is the expulsion of a fetus inside a womb and not considering the period abortion is performed, it is still a sin because a there is already a life existing inside the womb of the woman; may it be just 1 week or 2 weeks. For Sanger, Contraception is the best way to plan and establish a family of ones own. Contraception is not that dangerous as with abortion, Contraception is very much secured from any forms of danger and most of all, it does not cost you to sin just to be freed from the situation you are in. it gives you a clear conscience and guilt about the preservation and protection of human life especially in planning a family.
Halsey, William. Margaret Sanger. 1988.
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Kozier, et al. Fundamentals of Nursing. Pages 7- 8. Prentice Hall, 2004.
“Margaret Sanger”. Collier’s Encyclopedia. Volume 18. U.S.A 1962.
“Sanger, Margaret”. Compton’s Encyclopedia. Volume 20. Tribune Publishing Company, 1995.
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