Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: October 18, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412979344 | Print ISBN: 9781412960830 | Online ISBN: 9781412979344| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 77: Women's Leadership in the Reproductive Rights Movement
Women's leadership in the reproductive rights movement The central tenet of the reproductive rights movement in the United States is that women should be able to control their own fertility and, if they choose, limit their family size. Accordingly, the movement largely focuses on two fronts: the right to access birth control and contraception to prevent pregnancy and the right to access abortion to end a pregnancy. The reproductive rights movement in the United States is a relatively young one. It was not until the late 19th century that the “voluntary motherhood” movement began to publicly advocate for “natural” birth control (periodic or complete abstinence). In the early 20th century a few crusaders, such as Margaret Sanger and Mary Ware Dennett, spearheaded the movement for access to “artificial” birth control (contraceptive devices such as, at the time, diaphragms). These early leaders tested restrictive laws such as the 1873 federal Comstock ...