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September 14

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This version of Women of Achievement has been taken
from the 1998 email distribution of Women of Achievement and Herstory.
The full text of this episode of Women of Achievement and Herstory
will be published here in the future.

The Woman Most Responsible for Doubling Your Life Expectancy

The Best-kept Secret of Women's Health Care


QUOTES by Margaret Sanger, George Stade, Kate Millett, and the U.S. Supreme Court

Margaret Sanger on Birth Control Rights

Margaret Sanger:
The Woman Most Responsible for Doubling Your Life Expectancy

"Because of death during childbirth, the life expectancy of a female infant born in 1900 was 48, but by the end of this century, it is anticipated that life expectancy of a woman will be eighty. With birth control, a woman's life in one century has been almost doubled."
            -- The Great Ideas, 1996 edition

The woman most responsible for doubling your life expectancy as a woman is Margaret Sanger, born 09-14-1883, who fought and won the battle for legalized female fertility control.
      Yes, there were others who battled valiantly for women to have a defense against unwanted pregnancies, but it was Sanger who so effectively used PR in her single-minded campaign that carried the movement to victory.
      Her campaign started from being able to dispense birth control information in 1914 to actual birth control devices such as a diaphragm in the 1930s, to the development of the Pill in the 1960s.
      As horrible as it sounds, the laws of most "civilized" nations forbade ANY discussion of birth control information especially to women who were the ones who would die from too many pregnancies. Men, of course, had used condoms for the millenia - and the U.S. Army even bought condoms for its soldiers - although allegedly for "disease" control. But women - BY The LAW OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT - were kept ignorant.
      Sanger's manifesto plunged a knife into the heart of men's abuse of women.
"A woman's body belongs to herself alone. It is her body. It does not belong to the Church. It does not belong to the United States of America or to any other Government on the face of the earth... enforced motherhood is the most complete denial of a woman's right to life and liberty."
      At one point she shook the foundation of this nation's hypocritical morality by asking,
"Am I to be persecuted and classed as immoral because I advocate small families for the working women while Mr. (President Theodore) Roosevelt can go up and down the length of the land shouting and urging this class of women (Anglo-Saxon women or as he termed them, 'native American women') to have large families and is neither arrested nor molested but considered by all society as highly moral? But I ask you which is the more moral, to urge a working woman to have only those children she desires and can support or to delude her into bearing cannon fodder for munitions makers and professional jingoes? Let us ask ourselves which is America' s definition of morality."
      Modern attempts to discredit Sanger - and consequently birth control itself - point out that Sanger was controlling, promoted herself, had emotional problems, and had a number of sexual affairs with men other than her husbands.
      Another case of degrading successful women. Most men of power had the same faults. Oh yes, she is being called a racist and condemned for her belief in eugenics - although almost every leading political figure of the period from Teddy Roosevelt to Woodrow Wilson, etc., was an overt racist.
      She traveled all over the world for more than 30 years preaching birth control. She was jailed in the U.S. Sanger was arrested first in 1914 for publishing The Woman Rebel and then sentenced to 30 days in the workhouse for actually opening a birth control clinic in the lower East Side of New York in 1917.
      She spent a lifetime writing pamphlets, books, and articles, and lecturing on the need and advantages of birth control.
      Sanger was always at odds with the "feminists" of the day. She felt the suffragists were too narrow in their aims and other groups of women too elitist. She herself, however, pushed many of them away because of her socialist positions.
      She broke with the socialist movement, at least in membership, because the men would not support women's issues, including birth control.
      As a result, Sanger began publishing The Woman Rebel which had as its subheading,
"No Gods. No Masters." Seven of the first nine issues of The Rebel were seized by the U.S. Post Office under the Comstock Act. The growing controversy about the tabloid culminated in August, 1914, when Sanger was arraigned on four criminal counts of violating the Comstock Act, which classified as obscene "every article or thing designated, adapted or intended for preventing conception..."
      The arraignment stimulated significant national publicity for Sanger and the birth control movement. That publicity was heightened even further when Sanger left behind her children and husband and fled to Europe in November, 1914, to avoid prosecution. (Three years later she would go to jail.)
      In Europe she had several sexual affairs as well as learning much more about birth control, mainly from the Netherlands where such things were legal. (She was married at the time and had two sons.)
      She imported the first (illegal) diaphragms into the U.S. (They were hidden in shipments from Europe for her second husband's business.) Because of Sanger's single-minded drive, for the first time it was possible for an American woman to control whether or not she wanted to get pregnant.
      And yet, after all her work, she was booted out of the birth control movement by those who considered her too radical! She did not hide her anger because women's birth control movement had been taken over by men! Men's control of women's fertility was exactly what she had fought. Fortunately, the new organization Planned Parenthood has been returned to woman control.
      In her autobiography, Margaret Sanger explained why she decided to dedicate her life to making birth control for women legal - and available.
      As a nurse working with poor immigrants on the Lower East Side of New York City, she witnessed first hand the results of uncontrolled fertility, self-induced abortions, and high rates of infant and maternal mortality.
"Always (came) the question...'Tell me something to keep from having another baby.'
      "I tried to explain the only two methods I had ever heard of, both of which were invariably brushed aside as unacceptable... because they placed the burden of responsibility solely upon the husband - a burden which he seldom assumed. What she was seeking was self-protection she could herself use, and there was none...
      "One stifling mid-July day of 1912 I was summoned to a tenement..." She went on to describe a 28-year old woman with three children who had almost died of a self-induced abortion. When the woman begged the (man) doctor for help to keep from getting pregnant again his only comment was "It can't be done... Make Jake sleep on the roof."
      (Three months later Mrs. Sachs was dead. Jake was never prosecuted for murder - as no man has ever been prosecuted for killing his wife with uncontrolled impregnation even though throughout most of history, a married woman had NO CHOICE legally or morally but to submit to her husband' desires - even when another pregnancy would certainly kill her.)
"I looked out my window and down upon the dimly lighted city. Its pains and griefs crowded in upon me, a moving picture rolled before my eyes with photographic clearness: women writhing in travail to bring forth little babies; the babies themselves naked and hungry, wrapped in newspapers to keep them from the cold; six-year-old children with pinched, pale, wrinkled faces, old in concentrated wretchedness, pushed into gray and fetid cellars, crouching on stone floors, their small scrawny hands scuttling through rags, making lamp shades, artificial flowers; white coffins, black coffins, coffins, coffins interminably passing in new ending succession. The scenes piled on upon another. I could bear it no longer.
      "As I stood there the darkness faded. The sun came up and threw its reflection over the house tops. It was the dawn of a new day in my life also. The doubt and questioning, the experimenting and trying, were now to be put behind me. I knew I could not go back merely to keeping people alive.
      "I went to bed, know that no matter what it might cost, I was finished with palliatives and superficial cures; I was resolved to seek out the root of evil, to do something to change the destiny of mothers whose miseries were vast as the sky."
            [Margaret Sanger. An Autobiography. New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 1938.]

In her autobiography, she also writes with a cry that spans the decades of how her mother suffered and died from too many pregnancies.
      (QUESTION: Has anyone ever wondered why doctors who are "pledged" to save human lives let women die from repeated pregnancies without doing anything about it? The doctors never stopped treating men's illnesses no matter how the men became ill. Also, why has no man been prosecuted for the murder of his wife for impregnating her when her death from pregnancy was certain?)

References regarding the life and very complex personality of Margaret Sanger and the battle for birth control:

Chesler, Ellen. Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Coigney, Virginia Coigney. Margaret Sanger: Rebel with a Cause. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1969.

Douglas, Emily Taft. Margaret Sanger: Pioneer of the Future. New York: Holt, 1969.

Gordon, Linda. Woman's Body, Woman's Right: A Social History 0f Birth Control in America. New York: Penguin, 1977.

Gray, Madeline. Margaret Sanger: A Biography of the Champion of Birth Control. New York: Richard Marek, 1979.

Lader, Lawrence. The Margaret Sanger Story and the Fight for Birth Control. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1955.

Sanger, Margaret. An Autobiography. New York: Norton, 1938.

Sanger, Margaret. My Fight for Birth Control. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1931

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The Best-kept Birth Control Secret

Finally in 1996, U.S. women were allowed the opportunity for emergency birth control that had been available to women throughout the world for YEARS:

NEWS ARTICLE (ITN-1996) - In a move hailed as unveiling the best-kept secret of women's health care, government scientists declared high doses of ordinary birth control pills taken soon after sex a good way to prevent pregnancy.

But the largest contraceptive manufacturer said it will not sell "morning-after" pills in United States for fear of lawsuits - even though it does sell them abroad - and some abortion foes protest the pills.

In at least six other countries, women who are raped, whose birth control fails or who just forget in the heat of the moment are routinely prescribed high doses of birth control pills to prevent pregnancy.

They're even sold specially packaged to have on hand in case of emergency.

The same pills are sold here as birth control, but are not marketed as "morning-after" pills - and no company has even asked for FDA permission to do so - because of legal and political fears.

Consequently, while it is legal for doctors to prescribe the Pill for emergency use, few know what doses to use and half of women who could benefit even know to request them, surveys show.

If 100 women have unprotected sex in the second or third week of their menstrual cycle, the time closest to ovulation, eight will get pregnant, Dr. James Trussell of Princeton University told the FDA advisers. But with the so-called "morning-after pill" - although it can be taken up to 72 hours after sex - only two will get pregnant, he said.

The panel agreed that emergency contraception is effective 75 percent of the time.

To work, two to four pills are taken up to 72 hours after sex, and then the same dose taken again exactly 12 hours later. The panel said the six brands known to work are: two tablets of Wyeth's Ovral or four tablets of Wyeth's Nordette, Lo/Ovral or Triphasil or Berlex Laboratories' Levlen or Tri-Levlen.

In Britain, where 3.5 million doses of one brand alone have been prescribed since 1984, the government has found just six women who took morning-after pills suffered serious effects. One died but it was not because of the pills.

From: "James Trussell" --
"[Irene Stuber's article] was forwarded to me.
      You and your readers might also want to spread the word about the Emergency Contraceptive Hotline 1-800-584-9911 and website http://opr.princeton.edu/ec/ec.html. Both offer information about emergency contraception and have a directory of more that 1-800 clinicians willing to prescribe emergency contraceptives."

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B. 09-14-1728, Mercy Otis Warren, poet and historian of the American Revolutionary period who called for revolution and separation from England before there was a revolutionary movement. A feminist and friend of Abigail Adams, she blamed women's subsidiary position in life to men's refusal to allow them education. (She never had formal schooling, but listened to her brother's tutoring.)
      Using an assumed masculine name, MOW published many political tracts which were widely read and debated. Her A History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, (1805) is an invaluable reference.

B. 09-14-1830, Emily Pomona Edson Briggs, writer of the Olivia papers which chronicled politics in Washington, D.C. EEB was the first woman reporter in the nation's capitol and acted as a columnist for the Washington Chronicle and the Philadelphia Press. She was the first president of the Woman's National Press Association founded in 1882.

B. 09-14-1857, Alice Stone Blackwell, helped heal the rift between the American Woman Suffrage Association that was headed by her mother Lucy Stone and the National Association headed by Susan B. Anthony. ASB served as an officer of the united group as well as almost every progressive organization in the nation. ASB wrote extensively on suffrage, women's rights, and the oppressed. An outstanding and much overlooked voice and power of the women's rights movement.

B. 09-14-1868, Ellen Beach Yaw, American opera singer of amazing talent and richness of voice whose range included E above high C. Performed all over Europe and the U.S. including most opera houses including the Metropolitan. Known as Lark Ellen, she gave concerts for charities in California into her 70s.

B. 09-14-1882, Winnifred Sprague Mason Huck, U.S. Congressional Representative from Illinois, serving out the term of her late father 1922-23. She broke the rules about freshmen being still and introduced a number of bills including the call for independence for the Philippine Islands. She was an investigative reporter who even went to jail for four months under an assumed name to bring to light the abuses in prison as well as the difficulties in "going straight" afterwards.

Event 09-14-1889: Hull House in Chicago opened its doors. Formed by Jane Addams and Ellen Starr, it was the first major settlement house in the United States. In its first year of operation, it hosted more than 50,000 people. In all, there would be more than 600 residents at various times ranging from some of the most influential social reformers of the day to a future prime minister of Canada - and just about everyone in between. Hull House under Addams, in addition to social work and reform, served as the "mother house" for the meeting and networking of reformers who then went out to change the world.

B. 09-14-1897, Margaret Fogarty Rudkin, American businesswoman. MFR was a socialite who started making a healthy bread for one of her sons in 1937 and parlayed those few loaves of bread it into a major commercial company, Pepperidge Farms. The company had sales of $32 million a year when she and husband sold out to Campbell Soup. She stayed as president - supervising the day to day operations personally as she had from the beginning - until a year before her death in 1967 of breast cancer, a disease from which she had since 1956.
      As with almost every other woman directed company, the wages were higher than other companies and worker loyalty outstanding.
      Her noted collection of cookbooks was donated to the Pequot Library in Southport, Connecticut.

B. 09-14-1913, Mary Virginia Sink in 1936 was the first woman automotive engineer with Chrysler and the first woman to head a study panel of the Automobile Manufacturers Association. A contemporary news article had to note her feminity: "Equally at home cooking in the kitchen..." (Did they ever feel it necessary to write such things about men, i.e., "equally at home cutting the grass, or carrying out the garbage?")

B. 09-14-1921, Constance Baker Motley , U.S. District judge who framed many of the early civil rights cases. CBM influenced legal desegregation interpretations in nine victories before the U.S. Supreme Court. She was the first Afro-American woman to become a federal judge (1966) and only woman borough president of Manhattan (1965).

B. 09-14-1933, Zoe Caldwell, Australian-born American stage director and actor, arguably the finest Broadway stage actor of her generation. She was awarded the 1966 Tony for acting for Slapstick Tragedy, in 1968 for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1982 for Medea, and 1996 for Master Class. She was recognized with several awards for her direction of Othello. Her one-person play Lillian received wide critical acclaim in 1986.

B. 09-14-1934, Kate Millett, American political activist, writer, feminist, artist, sculptor, and self-describe lesbian. She burst onto the scene with her doctoral dissertation Sexual Politics (1970) and was dubbed the high priestess of the second wave of feminism. She said gender was more a function of social construction rather than biological. Her father deserted the family when KM was 14. She worked on commission only in insurance collecting agency while the men agents got a salary in addition to the same rate of commission.
      KM was the victim of intense infighting in the feminist movement and was "outed" in a vicious article in Time magazine. She then she wrote the biographical Flying (1974) in which she discussed her lesbianism. She suffered a nervous breakdown, was institutionalized by her family, and has fought a battle with bi-polar disorder with lithium treatment that has been lengthy and debilitating. She retreated to a feminist community in up-state New York to raise Christmas trees. In a 1998 article printed in England, she wrote that she was unable to earn a proper living from her writings.

B. 09-14-1938, Niara Sudarkasa, Black-Afro-American anthropologist and president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. She is an authority on African and Black Afro-American women and families. NS is one of the leading scholars of the U.S. and has served on more than 20 boards and task forces in the furtherance of race relations.

B. 09-14-1938, Nicol Williamson, U.S. entertainer.

B. 09-14-1944, Joey Heatherton, U.S. actor.

Event 09-14-1957: a 63-year-old woman becomes the first in a tidal wave of lobotomies performed on women in the U.S. Although both men and women were subject to the operation at time, it was an epidemic for women because the elimination of the front lobes were was seen as a cure for many of women's emotional illnesses, thus they bore the brunt of the butchery.

Event 09-14-1963: Mrs. Andrew Fischer, of Aberdeen, South Dakota births quintuplets, the first to survive in the U.S. (Only her husband's name is ever given!)

Event 09-14-1972, Pope Paul VI proclaims the continued ban against women in the ministry of the Roman Catholic Church in a motu propio, a personal decree.

Died 09-14-1990, India Edwards, former vice chair of the Democratic National Committee was unanimously elected to the national committee in 1950, one of the first women to gain major influence in major political party politics.
      She was society editor and women's editor at the Chicago Tribune. At one point in President Truman's come-for-behind victory in 1948, Truman turned to her and sighed, "India, sometimes I think there are only two people who believe I will win. You and me."
      "That's enough,"
she replied.
      Largely because of Mrs. Edward's influence (showing future women would-be politicians how to work in a campaign to get later benefits), Truman appointed more women to top jobs than any other president to that time. Among the appointments were Eugenia Anderson as Ambassador to Denmark, Perle Mesta as Minister to Luxembourg, Ruth Bryan Rohde as alternate delegate to the United Nations and Georgia Neese Clark as Treasurer of the U.S.
      "Sometimes I feel like a ghoul. I'd read the obits, and as soon as a man had died, I'd rush over to the White House and suggest a woman to replace him," India wrote in her memoirs, Pulling No Punches (1977).
      Edwards who was one of the best fundraisers ever for the Democratic Party said that John Kennedy looked upon women as "nothing but sex objects." Kennedy made only 10 appointments of women that required Senate confirmation. In the same period of their administrations, Truman made 15 and Eisenhower made 14.

Event 09-14-1990: a girl, 4, gets first human gene therapy to relieve rare immune deficiency.

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      "Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression."
            -- Margaret Sanger

      "Reading the book (Kate Millett's) Sexual Politics is like sitting with your testicle in a nutcracker."
            -- George Stade, assistant professor of English at Columbia University, who was one of Kate Millett's advisers for her Ph.D. thesis that was published as the book Sexual Politics.

      "Many women do not recognize themselves as discriminated against; no better proof could be found of the totality of their conditioning."
            -- Kate Millett in her Ph.D. thesis Sexual Politics.

      "A woman's suffering is too intimate and personal for the state to insist, without more, upon its own vision of the woman's role, however dominant that vision has been in the course of our history and our culture. The destiny of the woman must be shaped to a large extent on her own conception of her spiritual imperatives and her place in society."
            -- U.S. Supreme Court decision, 1992

The Following Words Were Written and Spoken by Margaret Sanger During Her Long Battle for Our Birth Control Rights:

"As soon as the neighbors learned that a nurse was in the (tenement) building they came in a friendly way to visit, often carrying fruit, jellies, or gefullte fish made after a cherished recipe.
      It was infinitely pathetic to me that they, so poor themselves, should bring me food. Later they drifted in again with the excuse of getting the plate and sat down for a nice talk; there was no hurry. Always back of the little gift was the question, 'I am pregnant (or my daughter or my sister). Tell me something to keep from having another baby. We cannot afford another yet.'
      "I tried to explain the only two methods I had ever heard of among the middle classes, both of which were invariably brushed aside as unacceptable. They were of no certain avail to the wife because the burden of responsibility solely upon the husband - a burden which he seldom assumed. What she was seeking was self- protection she could herself use, and there was none."

"Many times I studied Section 211 of the Federal Statutes, under which the Post Office was acting. This penal clause of the Comstock Law had been left hanging in Washington like the dried shell of a tortoise. Its grip had even been tightened on the moral side; in case the word obscene should prove too vague, its definition had been enlarged to include the prevention of conception and the causing of abortion under one and the same heading. To me it was outrageous that information regarding motherhood, which was so generally called sacred, should be classed with pornography."

"The first right of every child is to be wanted, to be desired, to be planned for with an intensity of love that gives it its title to being...

"The greatest issue is to raise the question of birth control out of the gutter of obscenity... into the light of intelligence and human understanding."

"No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body."

"Every mother a willing mother, every child a wanted child."

"Alice Vickery was a great in her day as Mary Wollstonecraft in hers. After a tremendous struggle, which included getting her degree in Dublin and her training in Paris, she had proved her right to enter the medical profession, and had become the first woman doctor in England."

"...I had already planned to upbraid the doctors who daily saw the conditions which had so moved me and yet made it necessary for a person like myself, not equipped as they were, to stir up public opinion. It was like carrying coals to Newcastle; they should have been teaching me.
      "I said I recognized that many of those before me of diverse outlooks and temperaments would support birth control propaganda if carried out in what they regarded as a safe and sane manner, although they did not countenance the methods I had been following in my attempt to arouse working women to the fact that having a children was a supreme responsibility. There was nothing new or radical in birth control, which Aristotle and Plato as well as many modern thinkers had demonstrated. But the ideas of wise men and scientists were sterile and did not affect the tremendous facts of life among the disinherited.
      "All the while their discussions had been proceeding, the people themselves had been and still were blindly, desperately, practicing birth control by the most barbaric methods -- infanticide, abortion, and other crude ways. I might have taken up a policy of safety, sanity, and conservatism - but would I have secured a hearing? Admittedly, physicians and scientists had far more technical knowledge than I, but I had found myself in the position of one who had discovered a house was on first and it was up to me to shout out the warning.
      "Afterwards others, more experienced in executive organization, could gather together and direct all the sympathy and interest which had been aroused."

" 'Why is it such an act of enmity to advocate contraceptives rather than abortions? Abortions, as you know yourself, may be quite dangerous whereas reliable contraceptives are harmless. Why do you oppose them?'
      "To my horror he replied, 'We will never give over the control of our number to the women themselves. What, let them control the future of the human race? With abortions it is in our hands; we make the decisions, and they must come to us.' "

"A young priest stood forth as our chief opponent, basing his objections [to birth control] on the laws of nature, which he claimed were contravened by birth control... In my ten-minute rebuttal I was able to answer the 'against nature' argument as Francis Place had done a hundred years earlier.
      "I turned the priest's own words on himself by asking why he should counteract nature's decree of impaired vision by wearing eyeglassess, and why, above all, was he celibate, thus outraging nature's primary demand on the human species - to propagate its kind. The laughter practically ended the 'unnatural' thesis for some time."

"Childbearing is hazardous, even when carried out with the advantages of modern hygiene and parental care. The upper middle classes are likely to assume all confinements are surrounded by the same attention given the births of their own babies. They do not milk six cows at five o'clock in the morning and bring a baby into the world at nine. The terrific hardships of the farm mother are not in the least degree lessened by maternity. If she and her infant survive, it is only to face these hardships anew, and with additional complications."

"At that time I visualized the birth control movement as part of the fight for freedom of speech. How much would the postal authorities suppress? What were they really after? I was determined to prod and goad until some definite knowledge was obtained as to what was 'obscene, lewd, and lascivious' (about birth control information)."

"Between 1921 and 1926, I received over a million letters from mothers requesting (birth control) information."

"Dr. Aletta Jacobs of Amsterdam conquest of nearly insuperable obstacles to a medical career was particularly appealing. Born in 1854 in the Province of Groningen, she was the eighth child of a physician who, on eight hundred dollars a year, had to support his wife and eleven children. Even before adolescence she had asked defiantly, 'What's the use of brains if you're born a girl?'
      "She was determined to become a doctor like her father, though no woman had ever been admitted to Groningen University. Her spirit was so indomitable that when at 17 she passed the examinations and demanded entrance, she had been permitted to listen for a year, and then allowed to register as a permanent student.
      "In 1878 Dr. Jacobs had finished her studies in medicine at Amsterdam University and gone to London, where she had attended the Besant and Bradlaught trial, met the Fabians, met the Malthusians, become an ardent suffragist. This first woman physician in the Netherlands had returned to Amsterdam and there had braved the disapproval of her father's friends by practicing her profession and by opening a free clinic for poor women and children where she gave contraceptive advice and information, the first time this had ever been done in the world.
      "With a few years and within a radius of five miles the proportion of stillbirths and abortions was well as venereal disease had started to decline... The Netherlands being such a small country, where one person's business was everybody's business, such changes could not escape notice... The results of Dr. Jacobs' clinic were so apparent that immediately thereafter the Dutch Neo-Malthusian League had been formed and 34 physicians had joined it.
      "In 1883 Dr. Mensinga, a gynecologist of Glensburg, Germany, had published a description of a contraceptive device called a diaphragm pessary, which he and Dr. Jacobs had perfected. In recognition of its extensive and valuable accomplishment, Queen Wilhelmina had presented the (Malthusian League) a medal of honor and a charter, and counted it one of the great public utilities."

"In the Netherlands a clinic had been cited as a public benefaction [by the Queen] and in the United States it was classed as a public nuisance."

"Due probably to the influence of the Osborne innovations at Sing Sing the men at the Queens Penitentiary were better treated than the women. Their food was of higher quality and they could buy tobacco and even newspapers. The sole reading matter available to women were two Catholic weeklies and the Christian Science Monitor. Our only other news came from the two visitors a month allowed. So fine a mesh screen was placed in the reception room that inmates could with difficulty distinguish, as through a veil, the features of those to whom they were talking. This was a hardship not even imposed at Sing Sing."
            -- Margaret Sanger describing the conditions during her 30 days imprisonment in 1917 for dispensing birth control information.

"Glasgow (Scotland) had it show beauty spots, but even the model tenements were not so good as our simplest, lower-middle class apartment buildings. One had been constructed for the accommodation of 'deserving and respectable widows and widowers belongs to the working class' having one or more children with no one to care for them while the parents were away. But the building had been turned over to the exclusive use of widowers. Widows and their children had to shift for themselves."

"Here, there, and everywhere the reply came, 'Wait until women had more education. Wait until we secure equal distribution of wealth.' Wait for this and wait for that. Wait! Wait! Wait!
      Having no idea how powerful were the laws which laid a blanket of ignorance over the medical profession as well as the laity, I asked various doctors of my acquaintance, 'Why aren't physicians doing something?'
      " 'The people you're worrying about wouldn't use contraception if they had it; they breed like rabbits. And, besides, there's a law against it.'
      " 'Information does exist, doesn't it?'
      " 'Perhaps, but I doubt whether you can find it. Even if you do, you can't pass it on. [Comstock's federal laws will] get you if you don't watch out.' "

"I explained by private and personal conception of what Feminism should mean; that is, women should first free themselves from biological slavery, which could best be accomplished through birth control."

"I knew something must be done to rescue those women who were voiceless; someone had to express with white hot intensity the conviction that they must be empowered to decide for themselves when they should fulfill the supreme function of motherhood. They had to be made aware of how they were being shackled, and roused to mutiny. To this end I conceived the idea of a magazine to be called The Woman Rebel, dedicated to the interests of working women.
      "Often I had thought of Vashti as the first woman rebel in history. Once when her husband, King Ahasuerus, had been showing off to his people his fine linens, his pillars of marble, his beds of gold and silver, and all his riches, he had commanded that his beautiful Queen Vashti also be put of view. but she had declined to be exhibited as a possession or chattel. Because of her disobedience, which might set a very bad example to other wives, she had been cast aside and Ahasuerus had chosen a new bride, the meek and gentle Esther.
      "I wanted each woman to be a rebellious Vashti, not an Esther; was she to be merely a washboard with only one song, one song? Surely, she should be allowed to develop all her potentialities. Feminists where trying to free her from her new economic ideology but were doing nothing to free her from her biological subservience to man, which wa the true cause of her enslavement."

"In the early days almost everywhere I went the subject of birth control was one likely to make conspicuous those who identified themselves with it. Average well-to-do persons hesitated except for the Jewish leaders in civic affairs, who, as soon as they were personally convinced, showed no reluctance in aligning themselves publicly."

"My flaming Feminism speeches had scared some of my supporters out of their wits."

"Many times I studied Section 211 of the Federal Statutes, under which the Post Office was acting. This penal clause of the Comstock Law had been left hanging in Washington like the dried shell of a tortoise. Its grip had even been tightened on the moral side; in case the word obscene should prove too vague, its definition had been enlarged to include the prevention of conception and the causing of abortion under one and the same heading. To me it was outrageous that information regarding motherhood, which was so generally called sacred, should be classed with pornography."

"The so-called Comstock Law of 1873, which had been adroitly pushed through a busy Congress on the eve of adjournment, the Post Office had been given authority to decide what might be called lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene, and this extraordinary man (Arthur Comstock) had been granted the extraordinary power, alone of all citizens of the United States, to open any letter or package or pamphlet or book passing through the mails, and if he wished, lay his complaint before the Post Office.
      "So powerful had his society become that anything to which he objected in its name was almost automatically barred; he had turned out to be sole censor for ninety million people. During some 40 years, Comstock had been damming the rising tide of new thought, thereby causing much harm and only now was his hopeless contest against September Morn making him absurd and an object of ridicule."

"The Yoshiwara, to which some missionaries escorted me, was certainly an integral part of this man's world. First we visited the unlicensed quarter, winding in our rickshas among alley-like streets lined with small houses. The dark eyes of the girls peered out through slits in the screen walls. Working men were standing in the muddy roadways, chattering, scrutinizing the prices which were posted in front like restaurants menus - so much per hour, so much per night.
      "A door opened to admit a visitor. The light in the lower story vanished and soon another twinkled upstairs; or a light went out above and reappeared below, the door opened against and a figure emerged.
      "Hundreds of lights behind paper windows seemed to flicker on and off constantly, low to high, high to low. The sordidness, the innumerable shining eyes made me shiver involuntarily.
      "After we cross the bridge to the licensed quarter the scene changed immediately. The wide thoroughfare, with a row of trees down the center fastooned with electric globes like a midway, was clean and inviting.
      "The amply-built houses had an air of spaciousness and luxury, their lanterns sent out a soft, alluring gleam, and carefully cultivated gardens produced a profusion of flowers in the courtyards. This part of Yoshiwara appeared a delightful place. Its attraction for the girls was obvious; they would rather seek a livelihood in this fashion than in the dismal factories (practically half the female population, some 13 million were engaged in gainful occupations through few were economically independent.) Nor was it odd that they should find more romance here with many men than drudging for one all their days as the 'incompetents' they became after marriage under the domination of their mothers-in-law.
      "Through portals as broad as driveway, the patrons, much better dressed than those in the unlicensed quarter, strolled up to view the photographs of the inmates, posted like those in the lobby of a Broadway theater. In some frames was only the announcement '--- just arrived, straight from ---. No time for picture.'
      "The clients did a great deal of 'window shopping.' Newcomers from the country might have eight or nine visitors an evening, an older one but two or three...
      "But in spite of the Yoshiwara's artificial glamour, the crowd of men swarming like insects, automatically reacting to the stimulus of instinct, was unutterably depressing...
      "The Ona Daigaku, the feudal moral code (of Japan) counseled: A woman shall get up early in the morning and go to bed late in the evening. She must never take a nap in the daytime. She shall be industrious at sewing, weaving, spinning, and embroidery. She shall not take much tea or wine. She shall not visit places of amusement, such as theaters or musicals. She must never get angry - she must hear everything and always be careful and timid."
            -- Margaret Sanger describing her visit to Japan in 1921.

"The only method of family limitation known to the poor Chinese was infanticide of girl babies by suffocation or drowning. The missionaries were co-operating with the Government, which had enacted a law forbidding the practice. They went from home to home to see whether any woman were pregnant. In one were obviously so, her name was jotted down in a notebook for a call soon after birth was due. At the same time both father and mother were informed of the severe penalty they would incur unless the baby itself or a doctor's certificate of death from natural causes were produced...
      "But the Chinese had so low a margin of subsistence that, if the law forbade them to dispose of one child, another was starved out. Sometimes two little girls had to be sold to keep one boy alive; in dire necessity even he might have to be parted with to some sonless man who wanted to ensure ancestor worship.
      "Because the elder girls could begin to help in the fields or become servants in some rich landowner's household, usually it was the three- and four-year-olds who were turned over to brothels. There they stayed until mature enough to be set to working out their indenture. If they ever tried unsuccessfully to find freedom, the proprietors might beat them unmercifully, sometimes even breaking their legs so that they could not walk, much less ever run away again...

"Here and there the Chinese prostitutes could be seen through th open doorways, heavily rouged, gowned in vivid colors, limed like posted against the meanness of the background, their frail, light bodies at the service of anyone who came. Each took her turn up a stool outside, using her few words of English to attract the sailor trade. I thought I would never recover from the shock of seeing American men spending their evenings at such places with what were obviously children."
            -- Margaret Sanger describing her visit to China in 1921.

"The doomed women implored me to reveal the 'secret' rich people had, offering to pay me extra to tell them;p many really believed I was holding back information for money. They asked everybody and tried anything, but nothing did them any good. On Saturday nights I have seen groups of from 50 to 100 with their shawls over their heads waiting outside the office of a $5 abortionist."

"The emphasis was still placed on the social and economic aspects rather than the personal tragedies of women."
            -- Margaret Sanger referring to the Malthusian League which favored birth control according to the father's earning capacity.

"These were not merely 'unfortunate conditions among the poor' such as we read about. I knew the women personally. They were living, breathing, human beings, with hopes, fears, and aspirations like my own, yet their weary, misshapen bodies 'always ailing, new failing,' were destined to be thrown on the scrap heap before they were 35."

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