Women suffered when they lost control over their bodies, such as when the Comstock Act of 1873 prevented women from using contraceptives. Women defended safe birth control.

Comstock Laws of 1873

  • suppressed the spread of obscene content through mail
  • prevented information on contraceptives and birth control --> less control for women
  •  men were given the right to take advantage of women who had no control of the consequences
  • women wanted a right to their bodies and to focus on their professional role in society instead of being forced to have and care for many children

The symbol of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice (an organization with YMCA supporters founded by Anthony Comstock that passed the laws)

"Nov. 21, 1887, of Anthony Comstock, Sec. of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, to Josiah W. Leeds. (scrapbook vol. 4)"-www.haverford.com

  • an example of how violators of the law were prosecuted
  • Anthony Comstock was proud of his prosecutions, once claiming to have 4,000 convictions

A letter in reply to Leeds's telegram informing Comstock of the arrests of "lads" selling the "scandalously illustrated" N.Y. Telepress.