Cartoon illustration from Catholics United for Life, April 1985 issue, Pro-Life Newsletter collection
Brochure draft, What You Need to Know About Your Birth Control, circa 2000s, W114_02_19

The history of reproductive justice in America centered originally on debates around access to contraceptives and family planning information. Margaret Sanger, often heralded as the founder of American reproductive rights, opened America’s first birth control clinic in 1916 in Brooklyn, New York, designed to educate women on managing their fertility, spacing out pregnancies, and better maintaining their health; it was raided and shut down only 9 days later. She went on to create the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau and the American Birth Control League, which eventually merged to form Planned Parenthood. Beginning in 1956, large-scale human trials in Puerto Rico were conducted to determine the dosage and efficacy of oral contraceptive pills, though much of this testing was conducted without informed consent.

Page 3 continuation of What You Need to Know brochure draft, circa 2000s, W114_02_19

Significant Events

  • 1960 the FDA Approved this sale of birth control pills.
  • 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut — U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot deny the sale of contraceptives to married couples.
  • 1972 Eisenstadt v. Baird — U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that banned the sale of contraceptives to unmarried people.
  • 1999 FDA approved the sale of Plan B, a form of emergency contraceptive also known as the “morning-after pill.”
Planned Parenthood Southeast scrapbook 01, 1977-1979, pg 20, brochure from The Metropolitan Atlanta Girls’ Club, Inc.
A Women’s Life is a Human Life: End Sterilization Abuse. Abortion Rights for All Women [button], circa 1970s, Anne Olson papers
Illegal Abortion: Never Again! [button], circa 1980s, Anne Olson papers