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On This Day… Arrested For Offering Advice

Written by: George Chittenden : 02 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 11th February, back in 1916 when a crusader for women's rights and social justice was arrested in New York City for advocating birth control. Emma Goldman was a Russian immigrant who worked as a nurse and midwife among the poor in New York, and had experienced first-hand, the need for contraception.

She was accused of violating the Comstock Act of 1873, which made it a federal offence to disseminate contraceptive devices and information. The arrest didn’t scare Emma, a champion of numerous controversial causes and ideas.

Her activism landed her in jail, and then in 1919 she was deported to Russia! In 1936 though, America caught up with her way of thinking and amended the Comstock Act, allowing doctors the legal right to prescribe and distribute contraceptive devices.

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