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The Story of a Badass Woman Named Margaret Sanger

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The Story of a Badass Woman Named Margaret Sanger

Cassie Dewar

Today is International Women's Day a day in which we as a society commemorate the struggle for women's rights.

Today is also of personal significance to me as I was just diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - A hormonal disorder that affects between 12-18% of women of reproductive age and up to 21% in some high-risk groups, such as Indigenous Australian women.

As I returned from my doctors appointment, despite my heavy heart, I couldn't help but see the beautiful synchronicity at getting this news today. You see, 'The Pill' is often recommended as the first line of managing PCOS. 

And so I wanted to take the time to commemorate a particularly badass woman who fought for women all over the world to have the right to access the pill. 

Margaret Sanger was a birth control activist, sex educator, writer, nurse and widely recognised as the founder of the modern birth control movement.

In 1916, she opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. Despite being found guilty of maintaining a public nuisance and sentenced to jail for her work, once released she re-opened her clinic and continued to persevere through more arrests and prosecutions.

In 1950, according to The National Museum of Australia (NMA):

"Sanger encouraged Gregory Pincus and John Rock, the creators of the Pill, to undertake research in the face of the medical establishment’s reluctance to fund research into fertility control. Sanger also persuaded private philanthropist and feminist Katherine McCormick to fund Rock’s research.

Oh and did I mention that she was in her 80s when she did this?! So badass! 

In 1954, trials started and the first contraceptive pill was approved by the FDA on 9th May 1960 and later made available in Australia on 1 February 1961.

What was so radical about the oral contraceptive pill was the freedom and simplicity it offered women and today, according to the NMA, The Pill remains among the most popular and safest forms of birth control. 

So Margaret, this is my personal thank you for the work you did for women's rights and giving me and many other women the freedom to choose The Pill should they so wish.

Cass x