It might seem strange to you, but the invention of the birth control pill affected sexual relations, dating, marriage, and reproduction in the United States in revolutionary ways. In fact, in 2010, Time magazine named it the most important invention of the 20th century. I would like for you to explore this invention as a powerful mechanism of social change.
Margaret Sanger is credited with the invention of the birth control pill and also the founder of Planned Parenthood. She is most often presented as a heroine and advocate for women’s rights and birth control. By reading the following two sources, you will see two very different sides of her.First, view People & Events: Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) https://web.archive.org/web/20170227081207/http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pill/peopleevents/p_sanger.html to read about her advocacy for women and work to end Comstock laws.
Next, view The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda by Margaret Sanger https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=238946.xml to read a darker look at her early work that supported eugenics and the promotion of infertility among racial minority women and the mentally retarded.
Under “The Film and More,” select “Primary Sources.” Read the 1966 article “The Pill: Negatively Affecting US Morals?” https://web.archive.org/web/20161001211657/http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pill/filmmore/ps_revolution.html
View the PBS film, The Pill [Duration: 56:11] https://youtu.be/i6WCT7lQOYA
Finally, please answer the following questions and submit your answersin a two page paper using the assignment link below:What did you learn about Margaret Sanger and the eugenics movement? In the early days of her work, why did she target minorities and mentally retarded women? Why do you think this part of the story is not mentioned in Sociology textbooks and women’s rights organizations? (4 points)
What connections can you make with Sanger’s early attempts to target minorities and the minority populations today that access birth control and abortion clinics?(3 points)
Discuss how Sanger and her scientist can be seen as leaders of a social movement. Both did not live to see the full implementation of this product. (4 points)
What did you think of the 1966 anti-pill article? What connections do you see between what was said here and current discussions of sexuality and reproduction? (6 points)
What are the important points you learned from the video about sexuality and reproduction before the pill and after the pill? How has life for women and families drastically changed due to the invention of this small pill? (3 points)