MARGARET SANGER, American birth control advocate born (d. 1966) American birth control activist, an advocate of negative eugenics, and the founder of the American Birth Control League (which eventually becomes Planned Parenthood). Initially met with fierce opposition to her ideas, Sanger gradually won some support, both in the public as well as the courts, for a woman’s choice to decide how and when she will bear children. Margaret Sanger was instrumental in opening the way to universal access to birth control. Margaret separated from her husband William Sanger in 1913.

In 1914, Sanger launched The Woman Rebel, an eight page monthly newsletter advocating contraception, with the slogan “No Gods and No Masters” (and coining the term “birth control”) and that each woman be “the absolute mistress of her own body.” She was indicted for violating postal obscenity laws in August and fled to Europe as “Bertha Watson” to escape prosecution. There, she had several affairs, including with the science-fiction author H.G. Wells and sexual psychologist Havelock Ellis. She is accused of many despicable things by the enemies of women’s choice, among them a quote falsely attributed to her that likens Slavs, African Americans, and Jews to human “weeds” in need of eradication. She never said nor believed any such thing.