Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Remembering Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger (1879 - 1966)

Now that access to birth control is truly threatened again, it behooves us to remember Margaret Sanger whose birthday was Friday. Here's part of an article entitled, "On Her Birthday, Remembering Margaret Sanger":

Happy Birthday, Margaret!

"Woman must have her freedom, the fundamental freedom of choosing whether or not she will be a mother and how many children she will have. Regardless of what man's attitude may be, that problem is hers - and before it can be his, it is hers alone."

September 14 is the birthday of
Margaret Sanger, founder of the U.S. birth control movement... The sixth child of eleven living siblings, her earliest childhood memories were of crying beside her mother's bed as after she almost died following a difficult childbirth.

Sanger's mother, Anne Higgins, did die, worn out from those too frequent pregnancies and births, at age 50. These experiences formed the sensibilities that propelled Margaret Sanger to advocate for birth control. She dedicated her first book on the fundamental rights of women to control their fertility to her mother. The quotation above and those that follow reveal her clear worldview about women and a laser-like focus on the work she believed to be the most essential to women's health, wellbeing, and rightful place in the world:

"She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born. As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it."

"War, famine, poverty and oppression of the workers will continue while woman makes life cheap. They will cease only when she limits her reproductivity and human life is no longer a thing to be wasted."

Perhaps the best-known and most quoted of Sanger's statements is this one that cuts to the core of why reproductive self determination is simple justice for woman, and that without the freedom to make her own childbearing decisions, no other freedoms have meaning:

"No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother."

We all need to work hard to preserve reproductive freedom in this country and to restore it where it has already been lost.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:56 PM

    i LOVE your blog! we have a lot in common! i grew up near sangerfield and sangertown mall, of all things. i also had a childhood friend who was a relative of margaret sanger!


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