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New York v. Sanger

Up From Poverty

After two years of study at Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, the Higgins' finances were exhausted, so their daughter went to work at the White Plains Hospital in New York. There she completed two years of nurse's training, and in 1902, she married William Sanger in a quick wedding that allowed her to report to her 4:30 A.M. shift the next day.

As a home nurse in New York City, Sanger ministered to maternity patients in the slums of the lower east side. However, when a truck driver's wife died painfully from a self-induced abortion, Sanger left nursing forever, turning to birth control education.

During 1910 and 1911, Sanger gave a series of lectures to Socialist Party women on female sexuality. Her popularity resulted in an invitation to become a columnist for the party paper, The Call. In one column she explicitly condemned customs that forced women to rely on men for support. In another, she warned about the dangers of syphilis--prompting the U.S. Postal Service's refusal to mail The Call under the 40-year-old federal Comstock Act that banned the topic as obscene.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940New York v. Sanger - Significance, Up From Poverty, Comstock's Law, Civilly Disobedient, The Door Is Opened