Today in Feminist History: Congress, Contraception and the Comstock Act (January 18, 1934)

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Today in Feminist History is our daily recap of the major milestones and minor advancements that shaped women’s history in the U.S.—from suffrage to Shirley Chisholm and beyond. These posts were written by, and are presented in homage to, our late staff historian and archivist, David Dismore.

January 18, 1934: Legalization of birth control was hotly debated in a Congressional hearing today as both sides testified about a bill to modify the Comstock Act.

Satirizing the hearings as having a goal of establishing an N.R.A. Code for storks, as has been done for industry.

It was passed in 1873 as “a bill for the suppression of trade in, and circulation of, obscene literature and articles of immoral use,” with birth control information and devices falling into those banned categories.

One of the more zealous advocates of legalization is Katharine…

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