Today in Feminist History: Massachusetts and Connecticut Still Retain Strict Bans on Birth Control (August 2, 1947)

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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.


August 2, 1947: An initiative petition for “An Act to Allow Physicians to Provide Medical Contraceptive Care to Married Women for the Protection of Life and Health” in Massachusetts was filed today by Dr. Karl T. Compton, President of M.I.T., Dr. John Rock of the Harvard Medical School, and eight others.

Dr. Karl T. Compton

Though most signers were doctors, among the non-physicians signing the petition are Mary Pratt Potter, past president of the Massachusetts Federation of Women’s Clubs, and Helen G. Rotch, past president of the Massachusetts League of Women…

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