Margaret Sanger: Womens Activist for Reproductive Health

Essay by ambro98University, Master'sA-, April 2013

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Margaret Sanger, born September 14th, 1879, would spend the majority of her life challenging federal and state regulations on birth control and contraception information available for the female population of her era. Sanger's devotion to support the birth control movement made her a poster child for social reform and an activist for reproductive health education. Her actions played a crucial role in women's civil rights; however Sanger's lobbying efforts came at price, which would be reflected throughout the era. (CDC.GOV)

Sanger, also known as Margaret Higgins in her youth, was born to Irish Catholic parents in Corning, New York on September 14th, 1879. Margaret was one of eleven siblings conceived by her mother, Anne Purcell Higgins, and her father, Michael Hennessey Higgins. Even though Sanger's family size was average for the time period, her mother's health declined with each pregnancy, a total of eighteen, with eleven of those being live births.

Margaret's passion for preserving female health was ultimately driven by the death of her mother, due to tuberculosis and complications with cervical cancer. (PBS.ORG)

In the years following Anne Higgins death, Sanger pursued a nursing career and married architect, William Sanger. Also as her mother, weakened by bouts of tuberculosis, Margaret gave birth to three children between the years of 1902 and 1910. Margaret and her family were forced to move after a fire destroyed their home in Westchester County around 1912. The Sanger's relocated to the Greenwich Village area of New York City. During this time the population and culture was flourishing in the Greenwich Village. Margaret and William became involved with the local socialists, intellectuals, and activist for social reform. (CDC.GOV) Sanger's continued motivation for women's health reform and sexual education sparked a series of self-written articles entitled "What Every Mother Should Know" and "What Every Girl...