In 1916, Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, laying the groundwork for the eventual launch of Planned Parenthood. Often celebrated as one of the most important feminist figures of all time, Sanger died at age 86 in 1966. Throughout her life, Sanger may have been speaking from an early- to mid-20th century context, but many of her quotes about women's rights are still totally relevant today.
It seems like Planned Parenthood has always been a controversial organization — and Sanger certainly caused a lot of controversy herself. In many ways, she pioneered the use of birth control and worked to reduce the number of unsafe abortions that women were having. She spoke out about the harsh realities many women of her time faced in order to inspire change.
That we care enough to archive and highlight her quotes is a testament to her level of influence on women's rights and the work that still needs to be done. Now, if only she were here to craft the perfect comebacks to Donald Trump, your creepy neighbor, and the rest of the #haters.
"No Woman Can Call Herself Free Who Does Not Own And Control Her Body."
She went on to say, "No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother."
"Woman Must Not Accept; She Must Challenge."
Today, you could probably expand this quote to include more than just women, but rather all marginalized populations. In that case, let's hear it for Target getting rid of gender-based signs.
"I Have Full Confidence In The Cleanliness, The Open-Mindedness, The Promise Of The Younger Generation."
Sanger put her faith in the future. If she were alive today, she'd hopefully be proud of the conversations that are happening about women's rights, feminism, and reproduction. She might also be proud of these fellas who have signed on to the movement.
"I Suppose A Subject Like That Is Really So Personal That It Is Entirely Up To The Parent To Decide."
This quote reflects the commonly overlooked distinction in today's political sphere that pro-choice does not necessarily equal pro-abortion.
Sanger was ahead of her time in many ways. She led the fight against unsafe abortions and the fight for universal access to birth control. There's still a lot of work to be done in the field of reproductive rights, but Sanger's quotes remind us of how far we've come and encourage modern women to keep going.
Image: Library of Congress (1)