Today in Feminist History: Birth Control is Not “Obscene” (April 15, 1929)

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April 15, 1929: The Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau’s clinic was raided this morning by New York City police.

PHOTO: The Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau’s clinic on a much calmer day.

NYPD arrested two doctors and three nurses, then seized massive amounts of “evidence,” including confidential patient files.

Dr. Hannah Mayer Stone, the Bureau’s medical director, Dr. Elizabeth Pissoort, assistant director, and nurses Antoinette Field, Sigrid H. Brestwell, and Marcella Sideri were charged with violation of Section 1142 of the New York State Penal Code, which bans birth control devices and contraceptive information as “obscene” items. 

The raid was as surprising as it was outrageous, because it has been 11 years since State Appeals Court Judge Frederick Crane ruled that though New York State’s ban on birth control and the dispensing of birth…

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