October 16, 1916 – Margaret Sanger, Ethel Bryne, and Fania Mindell open America’s first birth-control clinic

Given the relentless attack going on against a woman’s right to choose (note: the Republican House is spending much more time on abortion than on job-creation), and even against contraception, it’s worth noting that on this day in 1916, Ms Sanger and her co-founders, Ethel Byrne and Fania Mindell, opened the Brownsville Clinic in Brooklyn, which also marks the birth of Planned Parenthood.

All three women were eventually arrested, and the city shut down the clinic – which had served hundreds of women (and the community at large, let us not forget) by providing information about sex and birth control – a month later. Sanger served 30 days in jail. Mindell was fined $50. Byrne was also sentenced to 30 days. She went on a hunger strike and after 9 days, she passed away.

It would be 59 years before the United States Supreme Court would rule that, based on the right to privacy, laws preventing the sale of contraceptives were unconstitutional – Griswold v Connecticut

Dorothy Samuels, writing recently in the New York Times, summarizes the situation on the ground regarding the right to choose.

Huffington Post writer Laura Bassett describes the effort against contraception.

Perhaps women in these states, and elsewhere, might consider a version of this tactic to persuade the menfolk to think rationally. (Don’t even try, though, to reach women like Virginia Foxx . . . . )



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