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About the Story

WOMAN REBEL is about Margaret Sanger, the founder of the American Birth Control League (the organization that ultimately became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America). The play recounts Sanger’s struggle to bring birth control to women in America and the world, despite the severe restrictions of the Comstock laws and society’s unwillingness to discuss such matters openly.

The title of the play is taken from the first newspaper Sanger published to help spread her message. Working as a midwife for the Visiting Nurse Association on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the early 1900s, she became acutely aware of the connection between poverty and the inability to limit family size because of a lack of knowledge about birth control. After losing a patient to a self-induced abortion, she decided to devote her life to finding and sharing the family planning information women so desperately needed.

Still controversial in some circles, Margaret Sanger was a complex and sometimes contradictory individual. Yet her story shows how a poor Irish girl from upstate New York became a voice for women throughout the world.