In 1916 women’s-rights activist and nurse Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. The Brownsville, Brooklyn center was closed soon after its opening; New York City police officers raided the clinic on the grounds of the 1873 Comstock law, which made it illegal to disseminate contraceptive information. However, the state appelate court’s decision in her case gave her grounds to establish a birth control distribution system of doctor-staffed clinics, paving the way for new opportunities, including the creation of Planned Parenthood.
Image credit: Margaret Sanger. Photograph by Underwood & Underwood. 1922. Library of Congress.