September 17, 2013 — Two opinion pieces in the Albany Times Union and The Tennessean commemorate the 135th birthday of Margaret Sanger, a pioneer for women's rights and access to contraception, who opened the nation's first birth control clinic and founded the organization that would become Planned Parenthood.
~ Chaleigh Craft, Albany Times Union: "[I]t's hard to believe that almost 50 years after [Sanger's] death, we would still be fighting her battles," Craft writes, noting that several "Republican-dominated states have been passing unconstitutional, anti-abortion bills that are causing women's health clinics to shut down in devastatingly high numbers." She continues, "And Republicans in Congress have introduced bills to defund Planned Parenthood, which would limit women's access not only to abortion but to cancer screenings and birth control information." She concludes, "Margaret Sanger was a woman of great courage and foresight," adding, "We need more like her if women in the United States will finally be able to call themselves free" (Craft, AlbanyTimes Union, 9/14).
~ Frank Daniels, The Tennessean: Daniels writes that Sanger "fervently believed that America's social ills could be solved most directly by giving women control of their reproductive choices." He notes, "Sanger's efforts were crucial to establishing a range of personal freedoms women enjoy today," but her controversial "tactics and approach alienated many of those who should have been her most ardent supporters." He adds, "Her name and words are often used pejoratively by both sides of the feminist argument, and by both sides of the abortion argument." Daniels concludes, "Like many controversial leaders of social movements, Sanger was far more complex tha[n] any soundbite could capture" (Daniels, The Tennessean, 9/14).