1965 November 2

First Federally Supported Birth Control Clinic Opens


The New York Times reported on this day that the first federally supported birth control program had opened in a rural area near York, Pennsylvania. The clinic was funded through President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, and it marked the beginning of federal aid for family planning services. Federal support became institutionalized with the 1970 Family Planning Services Act, passed by Congress on December 24, 1970 and signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 26, 1970.

The struggle for birth control clinics had been a long one. Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. on October 16, 1916, in Brooklyn, New York. She was arrested a week later for violating New York state law, was convicted, and served one month in jail for her crime (see February 2, 1917).

Attacks on access to birth control, and Planned Parenthood in particular, continued through to the present day. See Planned Parenthood’s 2015 response to edited and distorted videos about fetal tissue, which provoked calls by conservative politicians to “defund” the organization (September 29, 2015).

Learn more about family planning at Planned Parenthood: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm

Read: Linda Gordon, The Moral Property of Women: A History of Birth Control Politics in America, 3rd ed. (2007)

Learn more at the timeline on the history of birth control: http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book/companion.asp?id=18&compID=53

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