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Margaret Sanger Was An Early Pioneer In The Modern Day Feminist Movement

896 words - 4 pages

Margaret Sanger was an early pioneer in the modern day feminist movement. She was a great activist for women’s rights and equality. After her mother died at the young age of 50, due to having eleven children and seven miscarriages, Sanger knew her life mission was to be a birth control advocate. Eventually, she along with Katharine McCormick worked with a scientist, Gregory Pincus, and physician, John Rock, to invent the oral contraceptive known as “the pill”. This pill revolutionized sexual culture in America as well as women’s roles in society. It was a great marker of evolution of the home-maker stay-at-home baby-maker to the modern day American woman.
Although Margaret Sanger is regarded as a hero by feminists and modern-day women, she had some controversial opinions about minorities and mentally retarded individuals. In October of 1921, early in her days of activism she published an article promoting a eugenic society. People of the eugenic movement firmly believed that in order to reproduce, one must be selective, and people of certain races or with disabilities should avoid reproduction. Margaret Sanger stated in her article that birth control should be considered in order to support this selective breeding in a sense. Clearly this argument is immoral, unethical, ableist and racist. In the film “The Pill”, the historians mention how some black people were against the pill, claiming that it was targeting black people so they do not reproduce. They explained how after the pill was invented, it was easier for a person of color to get birth control than to get aspirin. I believe that Sanger may have targeted minorities and people of specific races in an attempt to reduce some of the chaos, divide and problems of the world. Also, she described the minorities and disabled unfit to have children noting they are either of the lower class or are mental and physically incapable of caring for children. This is clearly a very wrong, horrible argument, and is probably the reason many books and feminists disregard this side of her. They probably do not wish to tarnish her image as a hero to women and the feminist movement.
During the first clinical trial of the pill, the team conducted it in Puerto Rico, in a network of birth control clinics where there were no Comstock laws. It was densely populated with undereducated and poor people. Also, as mentioned previously, black people were given birth control freely during the early age of the drug. It is interesting that minorities were targeted as the first groups to be tested. Firstly, in early research studies, there was no protection of study subjects, as there were no informed consent processes. This meant...

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