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Margaret Sanger Clinic

Margaret Sanger Clinic Margaret Sanger Clinic
Photograph by Andrew S. Dolkart.
Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), reformer, nurse

This house served as the main clinic of Margaret Higgins Sanger, birth control pioneer and social reformer, from 1930 until 1973. Sanger's career as an outspoken advocate for birth control and family planning began while she worked as a nurse in New York's crowded Lower East Side. Staggered by the infant mortality rate, Sanger left nursing in 1912 to concentrate on birth control advocacy, publishing a series of articles about female sexuality. The Post Office declared articles Sanger wrote on disease and contraception unmailable under the Comstock Act, which prevented sending obscene material through the mail. In 1914, Sanger fled to Europe to avoid prosecution. The case made Sanger an international figure and charges were dropped, enabling Sanger to return to the United States a year later. In 1923 Sanger opened the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in New York City. The first physician-staffed clinic operating in the United States, Sanger designed the clinic to be a "first class center for the medically supervised study of contraceptive techniques." The Bureau moved to this location in 1930 and the increased amount of work space allowed for expanded services, including social workers to follow up on cases. Many doctors from around the nation visited the clinic to receive instruction on contraceptive techniques, as few medical schools of the time offered such curriculum. The Bureau served as a model for additional clinics and by 1938 over 300 additional clinics had been opened around the nation.

The Margaret Sanger Clinic, a National Historic Landmark, is located in New York City. The property is a private residence and is not open to the public.

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Last Modified: Monday, 30-Mar-98 15:42:58EST