Sanger, Margaret

Margaret Sanger was the single most influential crusader for safe, legal, and effective birth control in the United States. From the 1910s through the 1950s, she fought to grant women the ability to limit their own fertility. Her phenomenal energy, charismatic personality, and single-minded focus made her a highly successful activist. Yet Sanger remains a controversial figure. In her own day, conservatives accused her of undermining public morality; today, commentators on both the left and the right have criticized her support of eugenics and population policies in the developing world.

Sanger's convictions derived from her own familial history. She was the sixth of 11 children, born in 1879 to an Irish-Catholic family in Corning, New York. Her mother, a devout Catholic, endured 18 pregnancies before ...

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