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Margaret Sanger was an early feminist and women's rights activist who coined the term "birth control" and worked towards its legalization.
After working as a nurse in Manhattan, Margaret Sanger became politically active and wrote newsletters promoting a woman's right to birth control. She founded the American Birth Control League, which later became Planned Parenthood.
Watch a short video about Margaret Sanger and find out how she started a movement encouraging women to take control of their bodies.
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Sanger stepped out of the spotlight for a time, choosing to live in Tucson, Arizona. Her retirement did not last long, however. She worked on the birth control issue in other countries in Europe and Asia, and she established the International Planned Parenthood Federation in 1952. Still seeking a "magic pill," Sanger recruited Gregory Pincus, a human reproduction expert,
to work on the problem in the early 1950s. She found the necessary financial support for the project from Katharine McCormick, the International Harvester heiress. This research project would yield the first oral contraceptive, Enovid, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960.
Sanger lived to see another important reproductive rights milestone in 1965, when the Supreme Court made birth control legal for married couples in its decision on Griswold v. Connecticut. She died a year later on September 6, 1966, in a nursing home in Tucson, Arizona. Across the nation, there are numerous women's health clinics that carry the Sanger name—in remembrance of her efforts to advance women's rights and the birth control movement.
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