In Europe, the first birth control clinics started popping up in the 19th century. During this time, the US also began to ban information regarding contraception and abortion via the Comstock Laws. However, the American birth control revolution really began in the 20th century, with a lot of help from Margaret Sanger. Although many women were practicing certain forms of contraception, the ability to control their family size and reproduction was mainly left up to the husband. In Sanger’s work “My Fight For Birth Control,” she discusses her role in creating the first birth control clinic in America. She says “Our inspiration was the mothers of the poor; our object, to help them.” (Sanger, 529) While this was a revolution and a large change for women in America, the fact that there were still laws in place, led to a police raid and arrest on their Brooklyn birth control clinic. Sanger describes her hope for the clinic and says, “I refused to close down the clinic, hoping that a court decision would allow us to continue such necessary work. I was to be disappointed.” (Sanger, 531) Although there was quite a bit of change in the early 20th century, as Sange...
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...ge in 1920 was considered a huge leap for women, it was just more of the same traditional “values” for some. It would not be until much later that all women could feel this same sense of victory.
While the 20th century allowed for many changes for women, it allowed for the oppression of women and traditional family values to continue despite the progress. It seemed that with the events of the war work force, birth control, and even suffrage, which were all large victories for women in terms of progress, laws, families, and traditional values (and prejudices) kept the change from getting too great.
Evans, Sara M. Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America. New York: Free, 1989. Print.
Sanger, Margaret. "My Fight for Birth Control." Ed. Alice S. Rossi. The Feminist Papers: From Adams to De Beauvoir. Boston: Northeastern UP, 1973. 522-32. Print.
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