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RUNING HEAD: MARGARET HIGGINS SANGER/REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH Margaret Higgins Sanger (Slee)/Reproductive HealthSignificant Contributions to Public Health – Part IINaomi Johnson-EffingerHCA 415: Community & Public HealthKaren Thompkins, Instructor02/29/2016
Margaret Higgins Sanger 2Margaret Higgins Sanger/Reproductive Health:Significant Contributions to Public Health The purpose of this paper is to discuss the life of Margaret Louise Higgins Sanger (Slee) and her contributions to the public health field. This paper will discuss how her work shaped the public health system, and how her contributions continue to impact the public health system in our world today. Last, we will discuss how her work can guide and impact the future of public health. Let us then begin by introducing the person, Margaret Louise Higgins Sanger. She was born as Margaret Louise Higgins. She was born in Corning, New York, on September 14, 1879. She was married twice. First to William Sanger from 1902 to 1921, and then later to James Noah Slee, from 1922 to 1943. Her first husband, William Sanger, was an architect and lived her married life with him in Westchester, New York. The married couple led a very quiet life until in1911, a fire destroyed their home in the suburbs. The couple then moved to New York City. By now Margaret had given up her education as a nurse, which she began in 1900; she gave up her education when she married William Sanger in 1902. Margaret then began working, as a visiting nurse, in the slums, on the east side of New York City. Her first husband worked as an architect and house painter. Margaret also suffered from a recurrent illness, Tuberculosis (Hankins, 1939). (It should be noted here that Margaret Sanger Higgins was one of eleven children born to her parents, Michael and Anne Higgins. This is important, in that it has bearing on what shaped this young woman into the birth control activist that she became. Her father, Michael Hennessey Higgins and her mother, Anne Purcell Higgins were Catholic. Her father was an activist for women’s suffrage and free public education, after he left the Catholic faith to become an atheist.
Margaret Higgins Sanger 3Her mother died at age 49, after giving birth 18 times, and with only eleven of the births surviving. Margaret was the sixth child of the eleven surviving children. As we can see, Margret comes from a background of political activism. She also has her own cause for birth control, based on her family life, and the issues surrounding the death of her young mother. Margaret spent most of her younger years working in the home and tending the younger siblings. She witnessed the trauma of repeated pregnancies and the subsequent illness that her mother experienced. When she grew to the age to attend college, Claverack College and the Hudson River Institute looked wonderful to her. She was supported in this endeavor by her two older sisters. Margaret Higgins Sanger believed that the weakened body of her mother, because of the repeated pregnancies, caused her to be unable to fight off the disease that killed her, tuberculosis.