Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Birth Control And Abortion Became Politicized

Facts/Details Learned

  1. The first birth control clinic in the U.S. opened in 1916 and was operated by Margaret Sanger.
  2. At this time, it was illegal for Sanger to give out information on contraceptive options, which angered poor, young women. 
  3. Passing out such information was illegal under the 1873 Comstock Law, which prohibited the distribution of any printed information deemed obscene.
  4. Nine days after opening her clinic, Sanger was arrested after an undercover cop came in and requested a pamphlet about STDs and contraceptives.
  5. On appeal, the court ruled that is would be permissible for doctors only to talk to women about contraception, which allowed Sanger to open up clinics across the country.
  6. In 1936, a federal appellate court removed contraception from the obscenity category.
  7. The Griswold v. Connecticut ruling established that the Constitution protected a right to privacy, which meant that contraceptives were legal.
  8. By the late 1960s, Richard Nixon was pushing Congress to increase federal funding for family planning. In 1970, he signed Title X into law.
  9. 1973- Roe v. Wade made abortion legal.
  10. Sanger's American Birth Control League was renamed the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.


  1. Is it right to make these types of issues so political? What would happen if there were no laws on birth control, abortion, and other similar moral issues?
  2. Is interest in birth control a result of the growing population concerns or because it is a way to minimize abortions?
  3. Are there federal regulations on the number of abortions someone can receive?
  4. Are all forms of birth control legal now?
  5. Why wasn't Sanger allowed to distribute information on contraceptives? Did this violate her right to free speech?
  6. If abortion were illegal, isn't it likely that people would still find ways around it by looking into more dangerous an illegal methods?

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