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Sanger Opposed War and Breeding Soldiers

Womens eNews - Thu, 10 Nov 2011 19:31 GMT
Author: Womens eNews
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During the war, no reform leader faced as many challenges as did Sanger and her nascent, but still unsavory, birth control movement. For anxious Americans birth control came to summarize an accumulating cascade of alarming social, political, and sexual transformations, exaggerated in war time and particularly focused on women's roles. In the 20th century for some Americans, not just those in Greenwich Village, sex had changed in behavior as well as perception, from dutiful procreation to a pleasurable activity now enjoyed by even unwed daughters of conventional parents. Former guardians of the hearth now worked outside the home in growing numbers--some 17 percent earning wages in 1915--a figure that did not include those in domestic service. More young women attended college and volunteered for community activities. But such alterations were still contested. After she resigned from the Socialist Party, Sanger acknowledged few public issues not directly linked to birth control, believing it the universal reform of transformative power. Her cause surpassed superficial efforts to end drinking, improve labor standards for children, and clean up politics. She calculated as too dangerous the loss of credibility through guilt by association with any controversial cause, especially during war time. Besides, birth control demanded all her energy.

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