Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Happy Birthday

to one of my personal heroines, Margaret Sanger. (I know the day's almost over but better late than never, right?) I remember watching a documentary about her on PBS when I was in high school; to say that she was an amazing, courageous woman is to state the obvious. I remember thinking that she was the kind of person I wanted to be. And I remember feeling guilty, of course, for admiring her, because as a good Catholic girl I knew I wasn't supposed to.

The basic freedom of the world is woman’s freedom. A free race cannot be born of slave mothers. A woman enchained cannot choose but give a measure of that bondage to her sons and daughters. No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother...

Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that within her which struggles for expression. Her eyes must be less upon what is and more clearly upon what should be. She must listen only with a frankly questioning attitude to the dogmatized opinions of man-made society. When she chooses her new, free course of action, it must be in the light of her own opinion—of her own intuition. Only so can she give play to the feminine spirit. Only thus can she free her mate from the bondage which he wrought for himself when he wrought hers. Only thus can she restore to him that of which he robbed himself in restricting her. Only thus can she remake the world.

--from Woman and the New Race. Also check out The Margaret Sanger Papers Project.

A free race cannot be born of slave mothers. I bought a button with that quote on it at the March for Women's Lives last April.


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