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Margaret Sanger Biography Essay

2355 words - 9 pages

The scientific advances in medicine in the early twentieth century had immense human collision. Widespread deadly diseases were cured and the formation of birth control would send a fissure through the United States like nothing else. Margaret Sanger, born on September 14, 1879 came from a large Irish Catholic family, was introduced to birth control as an adult and soon became very energetically involved in efforts to legalize it.Margaret Sanger's work as a visiting nurse focused her attention in sex education and women's health. Margaret was surprised by the incapability of most women to attain accurate and effectual birth control, which she thought was primary to securing freedom and autonomy for working women. Margaret was steady in her search for simpler, less costly, and more effectual contraceptives. (Asbell, Bernard. The Pill: A Biography of the Drug that Changed the World. New York: Random House, 1995).Margaret, the sixth of eleven children pointed to her mother's frequent pregnancy as the fundamental cause of her early death. She claimed that a poor woman named Sadie Sachs, who died after trying to end an unwanted pregnancy, made her determined to take up the fight.As Margaret Sanger found out, women, particularly those who were poor, had no choice regarding pregnancy. The only way not to get pregnant was by not having sex- a choice that was almost always the husband's. This was even truer in the case of lower-class men for whom, 'sex was the poor man's only comfort."I came to a sudden realization that my work as a nurse and my activities in social service were entirely palliative and consequently futile and useless to relieve the misery I saw all about me," Sanger wrote in her 1931 book "My Fight for Birth Control." (Asbell p124-26)Sanger had three children of her own. She wedded, became a visiting nurse in New York, and joined the International Workers of the World (IWW). This union's objective was to eradicate capitalism and reach out to women and various minorities. Her relationship with the IWW and with her newfound friend, Emma Goldman, boosted her political stature. So, when she started publicize pamphlets concerning the horrors she witnessed working as a nurse. Sanger wrote about explicit cases in a piece titled Hard Facts. In a response to one case she asked, "When will our government see the requirement of allowing the practices of Birth Control for such a woman as this? Women who are better off can typically get the information. What justification is there for withholding it from such as these?" Chesler, Ellen. Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America. New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1993.Margaret Sanger was charged with breaking this law in 1914 but the charges were eventually dropped.To place this woman into perspective, biographer Emily Taft Douglas wrote: "When she started her crusade, in 1914, federal, state, and local laws were all arraigned against her. She was jailed eight times. The...

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