Margaret H. Sanger (1879-1966) 1976 Inductee

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ANA Hall of Fame Inductee  Margaret Sanger

Founder of the American birth control movement, Margaret H. Sanger fought for revision of archaic legislation which prohibited publication of facts about contraception. In her early career, Sanger practiced nursing among the impoverished families of New York's lower east side.

There she became aware of the interrelationships between overpopulation, high infant and maternal mortality rates, and poverty. In 1914, Sanger began publishing material about contraception. In Brooklyn, two years later, she opened the first American birth control clinic. She served 30 days in the workhouse in 1917 for "maintaining a public nuisance," but this and other legal difficulties only served to garner public sympathy for her work. Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, serving as president for seven years. In 1927, she organized the first World Population Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, and was the first president of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

"In her time, Margaret Sanger's pioneering work on birth control had profound influence over women's health and nursing care of the poor. Since her induction into ANA's Hall of Fame, some of the approaches she and her colleagues advocated to help the poor migrated into population control methods deemed to be contrary to society's changing norms and are not accepted today." (ANA 2015)