Timeline

Home

Margaret Sanger

March for Women's Lives

Religion

Organizations

Legislation

Judicial Review

Roe v. Wade

International

Quotations

Source

2000- 2001

Throughout the history of the western world, contraceptives and abortions have been widely available and used. In the 19th century, a movement formed to prohibit both contraceptives and abortions. This movement was very successful and by the turn of the 20th century most nations and all fifty U.S. states had laws prohibiting abortion (some did have clauses allowing abortion to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape and incest). In the US, under the Comstock laws distribution of information on contraceptives and contraceptive equipment was illegal. During this time, the number of abortions continued or increased even where it was illegal. Illegal abortions were often very unsafe and even deadly. It is estimated that in New York and California, complications from illegal abortions led to 20% of all pregnancy related hospital admissions. This spurred the women’s reproductive health movement. In the US it began in earnest during WWI with the efforts of Margaret Sanger, her sister Ethel Byrne and Fania Mindell. Their persistent efforts, especially on the part of Sanger, marked the beginning of the women’s reproductive rights movement and the first major successes.

Last Updated 10/6/04
Questions or comments contact webmaster