Margaret Sanger Calls For Legalization Of Contraceptives

1914

Margaret Sanger, a feminist and family planning activist who later will found the American Birth Control League, the predecessor to Planned Parenthood, publishes “The Woman Rebel,” a book calling for the legalization of contraceptives. The U.S. Postal Service bans the book from all U.S. mails in accordance with the Comstock Law, a federal law that made it a crime to publish, distribute, or possess information about contraception or abortion, or to distribute or possess devices or medications used for those purposes. Two years later, Sanger will start a birth control clinic to test the validity of a New York law prohibiting contraception, and she is arrested. By 1918, Sanger had won her lawsuit, although the full constitutional right to use birth control was not established until 1963 in Griswold v. Connecticut.