Margaret Higgins Sanger

Margaret Sanger, born in 1879 in Corning, New York, is remembered today as one of the founders of planned parenthood.

What is more difficult to remember today is that birth control was not legal, even for married couples, until 1965. Margaret was the sixth of eleven children. Her father was a stonemason and her mother died at the age of fifty.

Margaret attended college with the help of her older sisters and became a nurse. She married and had three children. She lived in New York City and was acquainted with early feminists and with early socialists such as Emma Goldman. Her experiences as a visiting nurse convinced her that access to safe birth control was necessary for women if they were ever to achieve equality and liberation. She worked against great opposition including the churches and most of the medical profession, was censored and even jailed for thirty days, but lived to achieve her goals, which were basically to educate and liberate women from unplanned pregnancies.

She died in 1966, just a few months after the Supreme Court decision that made birth control legal.