Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger
During the early twentieth century, the rate of unwanted childbirth was very high. Women in poor neighborhoods lived their lives in an almost constant state of pregnancy. Margaret Sanger recognized the need for women to be able to control their childbearing. She believed that unintentional childbearing caused many problems. She felt it led to poverty, abuse, crime, alcoholism, and joblessness. She saw the effect it had on the women?s emotional states and decided to make a difference. She provided women with the means and the knowledge to control their offspring. She gave them hope.
Margaret Sanger saw that extra children exacerbate the problem of poverty. Poor families only get poorer when there is an extra mouth to feed. She believed that birth control would help these families rise up out of poverty and crime. If people knew that they could determine how many children they would have, then they could plan accordingly. A married couple that could afford only one child could make sure that one was all they had. Contraception meant that they didn?t have to live in constant fear that they couldn?t support their family. It offered them the freedom of choice. They could live within their means.
Sanger believed that birth control could provide women with personal freedom. They no longer needed to avoid sex out of fear of pregnancy. It would give them the ability to make conscious choices about their bodies. They wouldn?t be made to feel like baby machines. Birth control would stop women from going for cheap, dangerous abortions. It could help ensure their health and safety. Birth control would allow women to choose between a career and family. It could free them from being dependent on men. Women would see themselves as independent, free thinking individuals. They could gain sexual as well as financial freedom through the use of contraceptives. She believed it would be a giant step towards women?s rights in society.
Margaret Sanger spurred changes in the law by breaking it. Society didn?t recognize the need for birth control because no one was able to speak out about it. The only way for her to bring attention to her cause was to take a stand and blatantly disobey the law. Once society realized that she was providing women with a service they desperately wanted, the laws changed. However, is the only way to change the law by breaking it? Why didn?t society?s leaders recognize the problem just as she had? Sanger attributed all of society?s ills on unplanned pregnancies. Were the unwanted birth the cause of the problems, or were they the result of social discrimination? Is it likely that all the problems would disappear once women could control the number of children they conceived?
Sanger made a big difference in society?s view of women. She made people realize that the health and condition of women and the poor is just as important as anything else. She shed light on a topic that people were afraid to touch. She went against the grain for what she believed in and for that she is a hero.

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