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Unwanted Pregnancies

In: Historical Events

Submitted By ksmith1213
Words 369
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Margaret Sanger, the founder of the first birth control clinic in the United States, was arrested in 1916. At this time, there was a law prohibiting the distribution of information regarding contraception. Unfortunately, with the new “sexual freedoms” that the Roaring Twenties exhibited for women, thousands of women were baring more children than they wanted, more frequently than they wanted. With limited to no access to women’s health clinics, childbirth left many women too ill and weak to work. Over 250,000 women wrote to Sanger seeking information and advice regarding how to prevent more unwanted pregnancies. With the opening of the first birth control clinic in 1916, and her tireless efforts to support other clinics across the country, Margaret Sanger began a movement advocating for women’s health rights.
In the American Promise textbook, the authors explain how Sigmund Freud, an every-day household name, was promoting his ideas that, as sexual beings, we should be able to “seek pleasure without guilt.” These Freudian concepts led to Americans exploring several ways of experiencing pleasure. Many of these newfound “pleasures” led to the prohibition of alcohol, challenged gender boundaries, and the expansion of mass media and communications. This roaring outrage of pleasure in the 1920s became known as the “roaring twenties.”
While flappers were known for challenging the traditional gender boundaries through their sexual freedom, there were thousands of women who suffered severe consequences following childbirth due to poverty. The women whose letters are excerpted expressed that while they do love their children, they are just so impoverished, ill, and/or tired to be able to bare anymore children currently. Most of them don’t necessarily want to never have another child, rather they want to wait until their current children are old enough to be able to help with work and chores, or until they are strong enough to healthily have another child.
Since founding the first birth control clinic, the demand and availability of birth control skyrocketed. Although information and the distribution of contraception was illegal in the 1920s, the demand for it led to the law being revoked in the 1930s. Now, rather than debating birth control methods, the morality and legality of abortion is being debated.

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