No Gods, No Masters

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“A free race cannot be born of slave mothers.”

Margaret Sanger was an American birth control activist, sex educator, writer, and nurse, born in 1879.

She popularized the term “birth control,” opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established organizations that evolved into Planned Parenthood.

Before you say, “No! I oppose this blog because Planned Parenthood is where all the murdering of the babies happen,” that’s not how it started. Sanger was actually against abortion, but strongly advocated for birth control.

Sanger was 1 of 11 children. In 22 years her mother, Anne Higgins, was pregnant 18 times, producing 7 miscarriages and died at 49. 

Get it now?

No? Let me explain.

Women had a very different role in society back then, her ideas weren’t for careless women having a fling at a bar, but married women undergoing more pregnancies than their body could handle.

Birth control was illegal, women weren’t allowed to say no to their husbands, which resulted in miscarriages and self-induced abortions that often leaded to hemorrhaging and death.

None of this should be news to anyone, but if it is, I’m not here to judge you.

In those times, women were walking, talking, vassals bound by both religion and law.

In 1914, Sanger launched The Woman Rebel, an eight-page monthly newsletter which promoted contraception using the slogan “No Gods, No Masters.”

Sanger, collaborating with anarchist friends, popularized the term “birth control” as a more candid alternative to “family limitation.”

This was of course, indecent and unbecoming behavior for a woman, so Sanger was indicted for violating postal obscenity laws, but instead fled to England. While in exile she researched contraception methods used in Europe that could be brought to America.

Sanger returned and went on to open the world’s first birth control clinic in New York City. Naturally, she was arrested a few days later and the clinic was shutdown. Her charge was a violation of the Comstock obscenity laws, which prohibited literature involving contraceptive methods.

The trial judge held that women did not have “the right to copulate with a feeling of security that there will be no resulting conception,” so she was convicted and sentenced to 30 days in a workhouse.

An initial appeal was rejected, but in a subsequent court proceeding in 1918, the birth control movement won a victory when Judge Frederick E. Crane of the New York Court of Appeals issued a ruling which allowed doctors to prescribe contraception.
The publicity surrounding Sanger’s arrest, trial, and appeal sparked birth control activism across the United States and earned the support of numerous donors, who would provide her with funding and support for future endeavors.

Her long, extensive career champion women’s rights led to many awards, and 31 Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

Sanger died in 1966 of congestive heart failure, about a year after the Griswold v. Connecticut case that legalized birth control in the United States.

She was a force to be reckoned with, the champion of reproductive and women’s rights, and one bad ass bitch.

 

 

To see more work by Michelle Bir visit her website at: birtography.com