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This Day In History: The Country’s First Birth Control Clinic

On October 16, 1916, Margaret Sanger opened the nation’s first family planning clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Women waited on line to get information on birth control. Nine days later Sanger was arrested for violating the Comstock obscenity laws, which made it illegal to send any contraceptive devices and birth control information through the mail and banned the distribution of information on abortion for educational purposes. Unfortunately, the clinic was closed, but that didn’t stop the birth control movement. She later opened clinics, known as “Mothers’ Health Centers,” in Manhattan and the Bronx, which later became branches of Planned Parenthood of New York City. The American Medical Association didn’t recognize birth control as an essential health service until 1937, but Sanger had championed the benefits for two decades prior. [Planned Parenthood]

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