Birth Control – the early pioneers

Birth control may have been practised by the ancient Greeks and throughout history with variable success but it was still a scandalous subject in Victorian England in the 19th Century. Annie Besant, a free-thinking early campaigner for women’s rights, and an early advocate for birth control, ended up on trial on charges of obscenity for publishing a pamphlet that provided instructions of how best to avoid conception, though she was acquitted.  A new book about her by Michael Meyer described her as a “a badass, a battering ram, a woman who inspired the next generation of social reformers”. Unlike Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes who followed she was not a eugenicist but had a simple desire to see women not worn out by child-bearing.

 Besant, 1 October 1847 5.29pm London, was a Sun, North Node, Venus, Mercury and Chiron in Libra with Uranus and Pluto in Aries, born just before the mid century triple conjunction. She also had an ultra-determined Mars in Taurus.  She was assisted by Charles Bradlaugh, an MP, atheist, political activist and founder of the Secular Society, 26 September 1833, another Sun, in Libra conjunct Saturn and Mars with Chiron conjunct Algol in late Taurus.

 The two names most associated with pioneering birth control were born within a year of each other with Pluto in late Taurus and Chiron in Taurus.

 Margaret Sanger, 14 September 1879 2.30am New York, one of 11 children herself, the founder of the American Birth Control League, the forerunner of Planned Parenthood Federation, was a redoubtable Sun Virgo trine Mars Pluto Algol conjunction in Taurus. She was supported financially and in other ways by Katherine McCormick, 27 August 1875, a Sun Mercury in Virgo with Pluto and Neptune in Taurus.

 Marie Stopes, 15 October 1889 4.10 am Edinburgh, Scotland, the key UK sex reformer and promoter of birth control, had her Sun conjunct Mars in Libra opposition Saturn in Aries; with Pluto and Neptune in Taurus. She was helped by her second husband Humphrey Roe, 18 April 1878 who also had a clutch of Taurus planets and was an Aries Sun.

  Of the reformers Sun Libra and Virgo seem favoured and definitely the mid 19th Century Pluto in Taurus helped. Annie Besant of them all looks the most determined social reformer.

6 thoughts on “Birth Control – the early pioneers

  1. Marie Stopes interest in birth control was motivated by her belief in eugenics. Let’s put it this way, she did not take it very well when her son made it known that he wanted to marry a blind woman. Her motivation was less motivated in helping women preventing the birth of unwanted children and more towards the preventing the births of those she considered unacceptable as people and thus the progenitors of unacceptable people. Not a nice woman!

    • A distant relative, married to one of my ancestors was rumoured to have had an affair with Stopes. They wrote an awful lot of letters to each other in any case. She may have written ‘Married Love’ but her own marriages were disastrous and of course she wasn’t averse to relationships with those who were already married and with children. I feel my poor ancestor was rather too tolerant of her ‘progressive’, Fabian husband

      • Attraction has a lot to answer for. It can cause a lot of unhappiness. But unfortunately personality and character are not generally the must have qualities when looking for a mate.

  2. Sadly, there are still issues with women’s sexual rights all over the world to this day, still including contraception. Basic female health care is still being denied to people where I come from, Northern Ireland, and there have been cases ‘across the pond’ where women’s rights have been taken away, then again, that places is the cesspit of humanity, imo. There are still women, the world over, who are still campaigning for their, and other women’s sexual rights but one would imagine that, at this point in time, it would not be necessary any longer for campaigns like that to still exist.

  3. 1 Wasn’t Annie Basant one of the key people in the early days of Theosophy, or one of its early splits?

    2 Is there current astrology or news on the subect? Or just a historic topic that came up now?

    3 Currently planets are all in a row, Taurus – Aries – Pisces – Aqu – Cap. The rest of the wheel’s empty. Any special significance?

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