Margaret Sanger (1879–1966) was a devoted birth control advocate and activist. Sanger herself coined the term “birth control” and spent most of her life fighting for greater information about and access to contraception. In 1921, she founded the organization that would become Planned Parenthood, and her work lead to the research, development, and legal passage of the first oral contraceptive.
The turn of the twentieth century witnessed a sudden clamor for social, political, and economic reform. Progressives boldly challenged the received wisdom in every aspect of life.
Of all the changes that took place in women’s lives during the twentieth century, one of the most significant was women’s increasing ability to control fertility. In 1916, Margaret Sanger, a former nurse, opened the country’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn. Police shut it down ten days later. “No woman can call herself free,”...