First American Birth Control Clinic (The Brownsville Clinic), 1916
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On 16 October 1916, Margaret Sanger opened one of the first birth control clinics in the United States in Brooklyn, New York, which some have called the Brownsville Clinic. Located at 46 Amboy Street, the clinic was a place where Sanger and her staff verbally communicated with women seeking information about birth control. During the early 1900s, both birth control and abortion were illegal in the US, and publication or circulation of information on both topics was deemed obscene and illegal by the federal Comstock Act. However, women still sought means to control unwanted pregnancies and visited the clinic to learn about birth control. The clinic was open for only ten days. It shut down after being found guilty of violation of the Comstock Act. The Brownsville Clinic represented a step toward the eventual founding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which Sanger led. Despite being short-lived, America’s first birth control clinic provided educational resources to women in New York and raised awareness of the birth control movement in the US through media exposure.