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FIRST BIRTH-CONTROL CLINIC IN THE U.S. [1916]

In 1916, Brooklyn, Margaret Sanger, Fania Mindell and Ethel Byrne opened the first birth-control clinic in the country in Brownsville, Brooklyn. At the time, New York State law prohibited the distribution of contraceptives or even contraceptive information to New Yorkers, putting this clinic years ahead of its time. Hoping to exploit a small loophole in New York State law that allowed physicians to prescribe birth control for the purpose of preventing disease, the clinic opened its doors and saw over 100 women on the very first day. Just a few days later, the clinic which was shut down by an undercover cop who purchased a cervical cap. Margaret Sanger was sentenced to 30 days in jail, and it was not until 1923 that another birth control clinic was opened in the United States. The Brownsville building no longer stands, but the struggle for reproductive health care continues strongly to this day.