In the early 1900s it was illegal to distribute information about birth control.
Margaret Sanger, however, was convinced that women needed this information.
While working as a public health nurse in New York slums, she saw too many women “whose physical condition was inadequate to combat disease” become pregnant and then die.
In 1914, after publishing an article arguing that contraceptives should be made legal, she fled to Europe to avoid arrest. The charges were later dropped, but Sanger was determined to offer women a choice.
In 1916 Sanger, her sister Esther Byrne, and Fania Mindell defied New York laws to open the first U.S. birth control clinic.
Almost 500 women came to the clinic in the ten days before the police shut it down. Margaret Sanger later founded the organization now known as Planned Parenthood.