American Birth Control League

American Birth Control League image

The American Birth Control League (ABCL) was founded by Margaret Sanger in 1921 at the First American Birth Control Conference in New York City. The organization promoted the founding of birth control clinics and encouraged women to control their own fertility. In 1942, the league became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.



The League was founded by Margaret Sanger in 1921, and incorporated under the laws of New York State on April 5, 1922. Birth Control Leagues had already been formed in a number of larger American cities between 1916 and 1919 due to Sanger's lecture tours and the publication of the Birth Control Review. By 1924, the American Birth Control League had 27,500 members, with ten branches maintained in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Colorado, and British Columbia.

In June 1928, Margaret Sanger resigned as president of the American Birth Control League, founding the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control and splitting the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau from the League. In 1939 the two were reconciled and merged to form the Birth Control Federation of America. In 1942 the name was changed to Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Its headquarters were located at 104 Fifth Avenue, New York City from 1921–1930 and at various offices on Madison Avenue from 1931–1939. It was not associated with the National Birth Control League, founded in 1915 by Mary Coffin Ware Dennett, or the later Voluntary Parenthood League.

The American Birth Control League was also instrumental in regards to African Americans and birth control.

Goals and activities

The ABCL was founded on the following principles, here excerpted from Margaret Sanger's The Pivot of Civilization:

We hold that children should be

  1. Conceived in love;
  2. Born of the mother's conscious desire;
  3. And only begotten under conditions which render possible the heritage of health.

Therefore we hold that every woman must posses... more

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