Previously published in Examiner
Part 1 of the Margaret Sanger series
Who was Margaret Sanger?
Margaret Higgins Sanger Slee was born in 1879 as a woman well ahead of her time. Margaret’s mother, Anne Purcell Higgins had 18 children; 11 of them survived. Both parents were devout Roman Catholics. Her father, Michael Hennessy Higgins was also a women’s suffragist activist and so Margaret was able to learn about the woman’s issues from an early age.
Margaret attended Claverack, a private boarding school for two years but was called back by her father to nurse her sick and dying mother. After her mother died she was fortunate enough to attend nursing school funded by her close friends. She also married and had a son. Sanger also contracted tuberculosis from nursing her dying mother.
Sanger started writing her first column in the New York Call, in 1912, called What a Girl Should know. She also sent out a pamphlet called, Family Limitations. She also worked in lower east Manhattan slums. Sanger was provocative and vocal and risked having to serve a jail sentence several times for defying the Comstock Laws, which prohibited the distribution of birth control material.
Planned Parenthood Montreal
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