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 78: Women as Leaders in the Contraceptive Movement
Women as leaders in the contraceptive movement For much of the 20th century, the American contraceptive movement worked to remove legal prohibitions on contraceptive information, encourage the development of new and better contraceptives, and make those methods available to all women. The movement coalesced in 1914 when Margaret Sanger, who coined the phrase “birth control,” directly challenged the 1873 federal law that prohibited the distribution of contraceptive information and devices. Sanger believed that access to contraception was a woman's fundamental right. Without it motherhood was compulsory. She was not the only one to challenge the laws and taboos against contraception, but her actions sparked an enduring, if controversial, social movement. Much of the controversy surrounding contraception stemmed from moral and social concerns about separating sex and reproduction. Nonetheless in cities and towns across America, women—club members, nurses, physicians, and social workers—organized and operated independent clinics in which married women could ...