This Day in History: What Got Margaret Sanger Arrested in 1916
On October 26, 1916, Brooklyn police officers arrested nurse Margaret Sanger. She was fined $500 and sentenced to 30 days in jail where she went on a hunger strike. When her jailers force fed her, Sanger became the first woman in the U.S. to be so treated. What did she do to bring the authorities down on her? What was her crime?
Margaret Sanger was arrested and served time for educating women about birth control and distributing contraceptives. As an early advocate for birth control, Sanger was willing to defy the law to see that women who wanted to limit their number of offspring had the resources to do so safely. Let’s look at the criminal activity of America’s first birth control advocate, Margaret Sanger.
Who Was Margaret Sanger?
Margaret Higgins Sanger was born in 1879. Her father was an Irish Catholic who became an atheist. He was a big proponent of both women’s suffrage and free public schooling. Her mother endured 18 pregnancies with eleven surviving children. Margaret attended Claverack College and became a nurse in 1900. Two years later, she married William Sanger, a man she would eventually divorce because of her activism.