Margaret Sanger and Women's Health
Margaret Sanger, an outspoken proponent of birth control, believed
that given women's economic and physical vulnerability—especially
rural women-they must be able to control the number of children they have.
Sanger labored for decades to get information to women about safe
contraception and venereal disease. This effort challenged the predominant
cultural belief that to keep women ignorant was to keep them virtuous.
Vilified by the church and once arrested by the state, Sanger dauntlessly
promoted women's freedom from lifelong childbearing.
In Motherhood in Bondage, Sanger presents
letters she had received from women across the country crying out to her
for help. These women, some having been married at the age of twelve or
thirteen and having had ten or more children by their late twenties, spoke
of the health problems, poverty, isolation, fear, abuse, and despair they
experienced as a result of their "incessant pregnancies and