OTI Online
Spring 1990

MARGARET SANGER:
MILITANT PRAGMATIST VISIONARY
by Lawrence Lader

The impact of Margaret Sanger's campaign for birth control was stamped ineradicably on this century long before her death at 86 in 1966. Her message was that through birth control, women and men could consciously plan the direction of their lives and raise society to a new level of dignity. "When the history of our civilization is written," her friend, lover and colleague H.G. Wells observed at the peak of her campaign, "it will be a biological history and Margaret Sanger will be its heroine."

On The Issues Magazine: Spring 1990: MARGARET SANGER: MILITANT PRAGMATIST VISIONARY by Lawrence Lader

Her tactics were drastic and flamboyant. Refusing to wait for the slow process of education and legislative reform, she openly broke Federal and state laws against contraception and courted arrest. Her policy was not to chip away at walls of oppression but to batter them down.

After her arrest for opening the first birth control clinic in 1916, she struggled for hours against being fingerprinted by the police, insisting that running a clinic did not put her in the category of "common" criminals. At the end of her 30-day imprisonment, she again resisted finger-printing until her lawyer convinced authorities to waive this ceremony.

Her strength seemed to come from her conception of herself as a spokesperson for American women. "I wanted to express their longings, ambitions and thwarted lives," she said.

The link between Sanger and American women shaped her career on both a pragmatic and visionary level. Hardheadedly, she insisted that the growth of the movement depended on a chain of birth control clinics across the country. When the demand for diaphragms - the technique mainly chosen by clinic patients in the 1920s - outran the meager supply obtainable under restrictive laws, Sanger had no hesitancy in organizing a smuggling network. At first, her friends returning from Europe hid diaphragms in their luggage from sources in Germany and Holland. Then she enlisted a bootlegger to include contraceptives in his prohibition-era rum-running operation. Finally, her second husband J. Noah Slee, president of the Three-InOne Oil Company, had German doctors send packages of contraceptives to his Canadian plant. From there they were smuggled across the border.

On a visionary level, Sanger considered birth control the bedrock of a new feminism. Her first issue of the Woman Rebel, a magazine she began publishing in 1914, contained the strident statement "A woman's body belongs to herself alone." She quickly grasped that until women broke out of "biological slavery", as she called it, and could control their own childbearing, all other feminist targets - the vote, jobs, education - were peripheral. Her political training had been as a woman's organizer in the socialist party. But she saw that the anguished lives of immigrant mothers on Manhattan's Lower East Side, where she served as a nurse, had been broken by incessant, unwanted pregnancies as much as by poverty. The socialist leadership claimed that women would eventually share with men the fruits of the socialist dream. Refusing to wait, Sanger insisted that only birth control could give women a foothold on dignity and equality now. As a corollary, she argued that birth control benefited children as well as mothers. "The first right of every child," she preached, "is to be wanted, to be desired, to be planned with an intensity of love that gives it its title to being."

If the public record establishes Margaret Sanger as the most influential woman crusader of this century, the private Sanger presents disturbing contradictions

As early as 1922, Sanger made population control an international issue, warning that over-population abetted the aims of Japanese militarism. "The greatest threat to the peace of the world," she wrote, "is to be found in the teeming populations of Asia." She visited Japan twice before World War II, lecturing on birth control, but was finally barred from the country when the militarists gained power.

Her final vision was the development of the birth control pill. She had always hoped for a better contraceptive than the diaphragm, one that could block a woman's fertility until she decided to have a child. She began her search in the 1920s, making trips to Russia and Germany after learning that researchers there had developed anti-fertility compounds. Neither product proved of any real value.

But by 1951, Dr. Gregory Pincus at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology was testing the contraceptive qualities of steroids like progesterone. Sanger conferred with one of her earliest allies, Katherine McCormick, widow of the son of the founder of the International Harvester company. Sensing a breakthrough, Sanger convinced McCormick to back the Worcester group - $150,000 a year for over a decade, $ 1 million in her will.

The "pill", developed by Worcester research, has never been an ideal contraceptive. Its side effects threaten a small percentage of women, but it is nonetheless used by an estimated 10 million women in the United States and 40 million in other countries.

If the public record establishes Margaret Sanger as the most influential woman crusader of this century, the private Sanger presents disturbing contradictions. Mabel Dodge Luhan, whose salon on lower Fifth Avenue attracted Sanger and other radicals in the first decade of this century, called Sanger the "first person I ever knew who was openly an ardent propagandist for the joys of the flesh." Sanger assailed the shackles of Victorian morality and postulated a New Woman, a woman made independent by birth control. Women could make the act of love a liberating force. By rehabilitating it and purifying it, they could gain "increasing self-expression and self development".

Sanger not only glorified love; she considered it the most powerful force in human destiny. Her philosophy was summarized best when she told me shortly after we met in the winter of 1953: "You must always be in love. Life is meaningless unless you are in love." Sanger was then 74.

Her energy seemed inexhaustible. During the months I spent interviewing her in Arizona, California, New York and Washington, DC, we would start work at 9 a.m. and often continue through the evening, breaking only for lunch and cocktails. Her favorite drink was champagne, and I spent far more than I could afford buying it for her. She loved going to parties, and we often drove miles to a friend's house, not returning till after midnight.

From conversations with Sanger's friends, as well as letters in my possession, it is apparent that her affairs consumed her and transcended the physical. Her lovers were an integral part of her work, sharing her aspirations, guiding her thinking, building friendships that went beyond immediate romance. Almost every relationship continued for decades - even after the romance ended - and the wives of these men often became close friends of Sanger's as well.

The most important influence in her life was Havelock Ellis. When they met in London in December 1914, he was already world famous from his seven volume study Psychology of Sex which had revolutionized attitudes about sexuality. She described his "great shock of white hair, his massive head and wide, expressive mouth - all blended into one overwhelming impression that here was a veritable god." Sanger was, at the time, married to Bill Sanger.

At 55, Ellis was exhausted both from a crisis in his marriage and conviction that his creative powers had ended. Sanger at 35, the symbol of the daring unfettered woman he had always envisioned, roused him with her furious energy. He, in turn, became her mentor, shaping her birth control research at the British Museum Library. Within a few months he wrote her: "You are always and will be very loved to me."

Ellis's sex life seems to have been inhibited by premature ejaculation. He preferred touching, caressing, holding a woman in his arms. "I mean by love," he wrote Margaret, "something that is based on a true relationship and that has succeeded in avoiding the blind volcano of passion..." Still, they spent many nights together, and would often travel together in later years.

Their relationship however, was not easy, complicated by Ellis's marriage to Edith Lees who died in 1916. Lees suffered from severe depression, but was on a speaking tour in America when Sanger and Ellis met. While Sanger and Ellis often discussed marriage, she knew it was impossible be¥cause the movement enveloped her. She could never give Ellis the daily attention he eventually got from his second wife, Francoise Cyon.

What Sanger did give him was economic security and friendship. Starting in 1935, she collected about $1500 a year from her wealthy friends to pay Francoise what she had earned as a teacher so she could devote every minute to Ellis. On his 69th birthday, she collected enough money to buy him a house; on his 80th, she gave another monetary gift.

Ellis introduced Sanger to the Wantley "circle" which became the center of her life outside the United States. The stone house at Wantley, Sussex was once owned by the poet Shelley's father. Its owner, Hugh De Selincourt, was a poet and novelist; his wife, Janet, a musician. Harold Child, an editorial writer for the London Times, lived there also, sharing expenses. Like the Shelley-Byron circle 100 years before, with its complex interweaving of Shelley and Claire Claremont, Byron and Claire, and Mary Shelley and Jefferson Hogg, Wantley too had its tangled web.

When Margaret came to Wantley, she was pursued by all. After her first visit, Hugh wrote her: "Every nerve of me continues in tumult..." Soon they were having an affair. Two years later in 1924, Margaret and Harold became lovers, and he deluged her with letters as rhapsodic as Hugh's. In fact, the letters from Ellis, De Selincourt and Child - and they continued to the end of their lives - make up an unparalleled, and sometimes cloying, record of adoration. It was something of a game, as if each man was trying to reach, through Margaret, the essence of what the feminine spirit meant to him.

Eventually the Wantley circle fell ap art over an emotion it supposedly disdained - jealousy. De Selincourt's admiration for Ellis attracted him to Francoise. "I have come to love him," Francoise soon admitted, "I was embarking on having two lovers." After a bitter quarrel with Francoise, Ellis refused to see either her or Hugh. Although Margaret tried to patch things up, the estrangement lasted more than two years.

Sanger's fourth important affair was with H.G. Wells, the apostle of science, the messiah of rationalism, and, like the other three men, a staunch advocate of birth control. His books had sold millions of copies throughout the world. Like her, he had risen from poverty, demanding that men and women be freed from sexual enslavement. Wells had only preached; Sanger had already shaken society.

After she spent a weekend at his Sussex estate, Wells followed her to London, and later to New York, demanding "a sure, sweet access to you.. .If I take my own apartment, could you come to me abundantly?" When she returned to London in 1924, Wells gave a dinner party for her, introducing her to notables like Lord Buckmaster, the Chancellor of Exchequer, whom she was eager to sign up for an upcoming conference. Sanger was expert at using her personal life to advance the movement.

When Wells became ill during World War II, she insisted he come to her home in Tucson, but he remained in England through the many bombings. When the war ended, she sailed for England and sat with him for days in his Hanover Terrace garden. On August 13, 1946, he died.

They were all gone now, these four men. Only in England had she been able to express the essential duality of her nature - the woman militant and the woman in love.

Meanwhile, Margaret had married a second time in 1922, following a bitter divorce from Bill Sanger the year before. The man she married, J. Noah Slee, was as remote from the Wantley circle as if he had come from another planet.

J. Noah Slee was a crusty aristocrat with a Hudson River mansion, a pillar of the Episcopal Church who had superintended the Sunday school at St. George's for 25 years. The first time he visited birth control headquarters at 104 Fifth Avenue, he was appalled by the stacks of mailbags, the small staff unable to cope with thousands of letters. This master of corporate efficiency immediately purchased a mechanical letter-opener, date-stamper and other office equipment, and brought order into the chaotic movement.

Upon her marriage, Sanger insisted on a written agreement, guaranteeing her independence. They maintained separate apartments, taking nothing for granted, telephoning each other to make a dinner engagement or before dropping in at the other's apartment. Slee built her an estate - Willowlake - in Fishkill, NY. When she was away for long periods on lecture tours, Slee bombarded her with complaining letters; she reminded him tartly of the wedding compact guaranteeing her independence.

Slee's wealth not only gave her a position in the upper stratum of society - she had increasingly counted on wealthy club women since 1918 - Slee also became one of the movement's largest donors, and bought an old mansion as headquarters for the probirth control Clinical Research Bureau. When she wanted to hire Dr. James F. Cooper to lecture to medical groups around the country in 1925, she persuaded Slee to pay the doctor's $10,000 salary with a seductive note: "If I am able to accomplish this victory with Dr. Cooper's help, I shall bless my adorable husband, J.N.H. Slee, and retire with him to the garden of love." As it turned out, Margaret's moments in the garden were limited.

One factor above all kept them together. Leighton Rollins, an old friend of Sanger's, told me that after meeting Slee he got up enough nerve with a few drinks to ask what made the marriage work. "It's obviously an impertinent question, young man," Slee retorted, "but I'll tell you. She was, and always will be, the greatest adventure in my life."

In a different way, of course, Sanger was certainly the greatest influence on my own life. Our relationship remains hard to define even today. She was 74 when we met, I was 34. There was never anything physical between us, but she insisted that I stay close to her constantly - in Tucson sleeping at the house of a friend of hers a few blocks from Sanger's residence, yet making me spend all day and evening with her. It was the same in Santa Barbara and in Vermont. At first I thought it was simply loneliness, for she occasionally referred to her home as the "Well of Loneliness."

But soon I suspected there was something more. She would pour out intimate memories late at night, then seem to regret the torture of exploring the past and complain in a note, "You must have had a magic wand." When we began to exchange letters, almost every letter had endearments.

There was a certain resemblance to courtship, to be sure. But on her part, there was mainly a desire to win me to her views so that I could write better about the movement. I was obviously flattered by intimate links to a legendary figure, but I also wanted to come as close as possible to my own concept of the "New Woman", and test my beliefs against the example of one who had created a movement from her own willpower and sold it to the world.

When I finished the manuscript, which became a book published in 1955, our relations became strained. The problem was that our agreement on working together was vague. It was not an official biography. Yet to secure countless hours of interviews with her, and permission to read her papers at Smith College and the Library of Congress still closed to the public, I had to agree to show her the manuscript. It was a compromise, of course, but one I thought essential. At her advanced age, no other biographer would have the opportunity of such lengthy and close contact.

She fussed about a mass of details, perhaps the most absurd being her birth date. She had an obsession about her age, and had repeatedly falsified it on her passport and other records. Although she had talked to me frankly about the Wantley circle, she now insisted that as president of the International Planned Parenthood Federation she had to protect the movement from gossip that would be exploited by her perennial enemy, the Catholic Church. We negotiated for weeks. When the struggle ended, we bathed our differences in a bottle of champagne.

Her doctrines, particularly her demand that women must have complete control over their own bodies and childbearing, shaped my own future writing and campaigns on birth control and abortion. Although Sanger opposed abortion - she was horrified after watching lines of poor women line up on Saturday nights outside the offices of quack abortionists during her nursing days in New York - she stirred my thinking by making me read the one medical authority on the subject. I agonized over abortion for years, increasingly convinced that contraception alone could never handle the problem of unwanted pregnancies; that the horrors of back-alley abortion must be stopped and the procedure performed safely in hospitals and clinics. When I published the first book calling for legalization of abortion in 1966, and became overnight a campaigner rather than a writer, it was as though every step I made was with Margaret's ghost at my side directing my strategy.

Sanger's sense of herself, and how to organize, was molded by the religious and social tensions of her birthplace, in Corning, NY. Her father, Michael Higgins, was an Anglo-Irish free-thinker, preaching Henry George's "single tax" radicalism and Robert Ingersoll's agnosticism. When her father brought Ingersoll to speak in town and he was locked out of a Catholic Church-owned hall he had rented, Margaret got her first taste of religious repression.

Margaret's mother, however, Anne Purcell Higgins, was a devout Catholic, but Higgins forbade his wife from attending church, bringing increasing tension to the family. When the local priest failed to win the children over, Margaret was branded a "child of the devil". Margaret's anti-Catholic roots undoubtedly influenced her later career. As late as 1960, she threatened to emigrate should John F. Kennedy be elected president.

Margaret's rebellion against Corning brought her to New York City as a nursing student. Shortly thereafter, in 1902, she married Bill Sanger and raised three children in suburban Hastings-on-Hudson. Then she rebelled once more against suburban stagnation.

Returning to New York City, she plunged into socialist politics. That winter she found her first challenge in the Lawrence, MA, strike of 1912 when she shepherded 119 underfed and underclothed children of striking millworkers to New York, where they were sheltered by local socialists. She also began writing a series of articles, "What Every Girl Should Know", for the woman's page of the Call, a prominent socialist newspaper. Describing the development of a girl's body into womanhood, the series was finally stopped when the Post Office Department and Anthony Comstock - who had put through the Federal censorship law of 1873 bearing his name - announced that an article on gonorrhea violated the bounds of public taste.

Working as a nurse among Lower East Side tenements, where 40 families were often crowded into 16 apartments, Sanger saw that poverty and childbearing seemed inextricably linked. After each pregnancy, women pleaded with doctors and nurses to tell them the secret of contraception. But the laws stopped them from telling the few facts known. Despite an intellectual acceptance of the need for contraception, it was in 1912 when a patient, only recently recovered from a botched abortion, died from a second back-alley procedure, that Sanger found her life's calling. She walked the streets for hours, determined at last she would "start the alarm" ...tell the world what was going on in the lives of these poor women. "I would be heard. No matter what it cost, I would be heard."

Sanger decided to confront the Cornstock law by bringing available contraceptive information to the public. Her first issue of the Woman Rebel in March, 1914, as well as three succeeding issues, were banned by the Post Office. Her final challenge came in a pamphlet, Family Limitation, a specific description of douches, condoms and suppositories, which was eventually translated into 13 languages and distributed by the millions. On August 25, 1914, she was indicted by the Federal government on nine counts that could bring a jail sentence of 45 years. Her lawyers wanted her to cooperate with the court and get off on a technicality. Sanger refused. Needing time to assemble her defense and rally support, she decided to flee to England, leaving her children with her husband and sisters.

Sanger has occasionally been accused of neglecting her children. She wrote of her flight in 1914: "I had to fight this through even if it meant leaving children, home, friends, everything I held dear." Undoubtedly her children suffered. Much of the boys' time was spent at boarding schools, and they may have retained some bitterness. Although both sons became doctors, Stuart stayed pretty much aloof from the birth control movement and Grant only took a leadership position late in life. In the case of the youngest child, Peggy, Sanger claimed she had frequent dreams in England of her daughter crying, "Mother, are you coming back?" The dreams were always connected with the number "6". Sanger booked passage, arriving in New York in October, 1915. Shortly afterwards, Peggy came down with pneumonia. Margaret and her sister, Ethel Byrne, nursed the child at home and at the hospital. There were no antibiotics then; Peggy died on November 6, the number her mother had envisaged.

Sanger never got over her daughter's death. For the rest of her life on November 6, she would stay closeted in her room, brooding. Sanger had "regrets mountain high, regrets that I did not have better doctors...all the means necessary to take proper care of a child," she wrote me in 1953. But guilt? "I never felt guilt. Never."

The Federal government dropped its Comstock case against Sanger in the spring of 1916, giving her a moral victory. Still, she fought on, going into court again for a broader interpretation of Sections 1142 and 1145 of the New York State law. Margaret and her sister Ethel opened the first birth control clinic in the country in the Brownsville area of Brooklyn on October 16, 1916. For at least a week the clinic was crowded with women. Then the police raided the clinic.

Margaret would spend 30 days in jail, but the Brownsville case resulted in a landmark decision. On January 8,1918, Judge Frederick E. Crane of the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, sustained Sanger's conviction - but with a decision so broad it actually gave Sanger many of her objectives. Section 1145, said the court, not only allowed a physician to prevent and cure syphilis and other social diseases, it also gave a physician the right to give birth control advice to a married woman for her health.

The trial and conviction of Margaret's sister, Ethel, preceded Margaret's and would stir the first of many charges that Sanger was determined to keep control of the movement. Ethel made headlines for a week by going on a hunger strike in jail. She was forcefed with much brutality, and her health seemed so precarious that a committee of prominent women appealed to the governor for her release.

When it seemed that Ethel's name would dominate the movement, Margaret made certain her sister was forced into retirement, claiming Ethel needed a long recuperation from her ordeal, which was certainly true. Although there were other problems between the two, Margaret's ego can be blamed for their resulting estrangement.

Now that the Crane decision allowed doctors to dispense birth control information, Sanger decided to set up the first clinic under medical auspices. The Clinical Research Bureau opened in January, 1923. Its policy was to amass complete records on every patient, giving the medical profession the chance to study the efficiency of contraceptive techniques. The first 1,800 cases were reported to a conference in Chicago that October, and local doctors were impressed enough to open their own clinic.

The Research Bureau eventually moved to larger quarters at the townhouse Slee had bought for Sanger, with Dr. Hannah Stone in charge. But even after six years and thousands of cases, the police raided it. On March 23,1929, a Mrs. Tierney, who said she had three children, was prescribed contraception. Three weeks later, the same woman, now Policewoman Anna McNamara, returned with seven officers who arrested Dr. Stone, another doctor, and three nurses, and removed highly confidential patient records as well as contraceptive materials.

Sanger would make new allies as a result of the raid. Dr. Robert L. Dickinson, former president of the American Gynecological Society, called a special meeting at the New York Academy of Medicine to protest the seizure of records and breach of confidentiality between doctor and patient. Morris Ernst, Sanger's lawyer, lined up prestigious witnesses - a former city health commissioner and famed neurosurgeon among them - who testified that the clinic followed the law and met high standards of public health. The judge exonerated the clinic.

From 1918 on, Sanger had concentrated on gaining support from the medical profession. Her commitment to the target of a nationwide chain of clinics under medical auspices led to her most ambitious campaign. In 1919, she set up the National Committee for Federal Legislation for Birth Control in Washington, D.C. Its objective was to legalize the use of the mails and other interstate carriers for contraceptive materials and information so that doctors could prescribe freely for their patients - to get through Congress what she called a "Doctor's Bill".

Margaret Sanger with Prime Minister Nehru in Rau, India, 1959
Margaret Sanger with Prime Minister Nehru in Rau, India, 1959

The campaign brought birth control to every corner of the country - nearly 1,000 resolutions were passed by organizations large and small petitioning Congress for the Doctor's Bill. The Although the Doctor's Bill failed after General Federation of Women's Clubs and the Federal Council of Churches of Christ, representing 23 million Protestants, eventually supported it. Further, the campaign focused public pressure on the medical profession. seven years, the New York Academy of Medicine came out for birth control in 1931; the American Medical Association did likewise in 1937.

Dickinson was one of the few prominent physicians to campaign inside the profession. As late as 1925, Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the AMA, insisted that no contraceptive technique was "physiologically, psychologically and biologically sound in both principle and practice". Most doctors, fearful of controversy, shunned birth control through the 1930s.

This antagonism to Sanger's clinic blocked approval of a dispensary license even when she offered to incorporate it in 1925 under a board including Dickinson and other distinguished physicians. Dickinson tried valiantly to soften his profession's fear of sex research and sexual reform. He established the Maternity Research Council (MRC), and Sanger agreed to make the changes at her clinic requested by MRC and cooperate in supplying it cases for study. But Dickinson still could not get a dispensary license in 1925, or guarantee it when he tried again in 1929.

Sanger made further efforts at improved relations with the medical profession through what became known as the "One Package" case. Birth control clinics had always lacked enough diaphragms and pessaries. Therefore, when Japanese doctors showed her a new and improved type of pessary, she contracted for a large shipment which was seized in January, 1933, under Section 305 of the Tariff Act, an outgrowth of the Comstock law.

Sanger's lawyer, Morris Ernst, went to court to get the pessaries released. He won in federal district court. When the government carried the case to the Court of Appeals, the decision not only released the "one package" in question, but ruled in favor of contraceptives "which might be intelligently employed by conscientious and competent physicians for the purpose of saving life or promoting the well-being of their patients." The case was the most sweeping triumph of Sanger's career.

She had, as it turned out, done her job so well that the movement had outgrown her. It had become a highly organized machine. Executives of the American Birth Control League were increasingly irritated by her "rugged individualism", code-words for her flamboyance and militant abrasiveness. There were almost 600 clinics - some affiliated with the League, others with Sanger's Research Bureau, the rest with hospitals and public health services. The conflicts between the League and the education department of Sanger's National Committee intensified. Both groups saw the need for unity, which was accomplished under a new name, the Birth Control Federation of America. Sanger was removed from daily command, given the title of Honorary Chairman (sic). Significantly, the new president was a male physician, and the offices were moved to the grey-flannel eminence of Madison Avenue. The movement's conversion to respectability was given a final polish by another change of name to Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

Sanger could have relaxed at Tucson, enjoying the honors heaped on her, like the Doctor of Laws from Smith College. But instead of retiring, she worked at her final objective, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Her arrival in Japan on a world organizing tour in 1952, was "the closest thing to a Hollywood opening night I'd ever seen," reported a U.S. Army officer at the dockside ceremony. She returned to Japan again in 1954 to receive a gold medal from the Emperor and address the House of Counselors in the Diet building. She had already helped build IPPF to 18 affiliated nations. Today, it has expanded to 96.

She would live to see her vision become official government policy. In 1959, a Presidential commission urged that our foreign affairs recognize the link between a nation's economic growth and stabilization of its population. President Eisenhower rejected the report. Six years later, he switched his position, stressing "the great need of slowing down and finally stabilizing the growth of the world's population". Sanger would also live to see the last of the anti-birth control state laws in Connecticut overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1965, and the U.S. Congress support both domestic and overseas family planning programs in 1966.

Despite these victories, Sanger's health was declining. She had long suffered from a heart condition, and started drinking heavily and taking drugs to ease the pain. Friends who visited her reported that she seemed unstable, and that she failed to recognize them at times. Finally, her son and legal guardian, Dr. Stuart Sanger, placed her in a nursing home. On September 6, 1966, she died of leukemia.

In just 50 years, she had carried a social revolution to almost every corner of the world, fusing the needs of women with biological evolution. With all her personal frailties and her inability to grasp many of the economic and political factors behind the entrapment of women, particularly the poor, her furious concentration on one feminist principle gives her special meaning today. "When motherhood becomes the fruit of a deep yearning, not the result of ignorance or accident," she predicted, "its children will become the foundation of a new race."


Lawrence Lader became an associate of Margaret Sanger's while writing her biography. He was the president of the National Association to Reform Abortion Laws (later NARAL) from 19691975 and is currently president of Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM).


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