Margaret Sanger Research Bureau

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"The Margaret Sanger Research Bureau (MSRB) began as the Clinical Research Bureau in 1923, which operated under the direction of the American Birth Control League (ABCL). In 1928, Sanger resigned as president of the ABCL and assumed full control of the clinic, renaming it the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau (BCCRB). The BCCRB reunited with the ABCL in a 1939 merger that created the Birth Control Federation of America --changed to Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) in 1942 -- but retained much of its independence. In 1940, the clinic changed its name to the MSRB in honor of its founder.

"Under the guidelines of the 1939 merger, the MSRB was only loosely affiliated with PPFA until the mid-1950s, when budget deficits forced the Bureau to more closely align its services with the work of the Federation in exchange for financial assistance. The Bureau assisted with PPFA fund-raising, accommodated an increased number of PPFA board members on its board of trustees, and became the clinical research arm of the PPFA. In return PPFA covered the Bureau's growing annual deficits and supported individual doctors and researchers on the Bureau staff with grants. The Bureau continued to struggle with its finances in the 1960s, prompting an affiliation with Columbia University in 1968. However, in 1974 rising costs forced the Bureau to shut down its 17 West 16th Street building and combine its staff with Planned Parenthood of New York City in a new facility on Second Avenue called the Margaret Sanger Center in New York. In 1992, Planned Parenthood of New York City moved to the corner of Bleecker and Mulberry Streets, a site renamed Margaret Sanger Square.

"From 1940, when the Bureau changed its name, until 1962, the last year of Sanger's involvement with the MSRB, the Bureau provided comprehensive contraceptive services for women and couples, and became the largest combined birth control and fertility center in the world. The diaphragm and spermicidal jelly was the Bureau's most prescribed method of birth control, although the shortage of rubber during World War II accelerated MSRB-sponsored research and testing of other contraceptives, including intrauterine devices, thought they were not widely used until the 1960s. By 1961, the Bureau was also offering the anovulant pill to its patients. While the Bureau did not perform abortions until 1973, it did run an Overdue Clinic that diagnosed and counseled pregnant women and referred patients to local hospitals and private doctors for medical care and in some cases legal therapeutic abortions. However, the Bureau took care to make it clear that its staff would provide no assistance if a woman requested an abortion." [1]

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  1. Margaret Sanger Research Bureau, Margaret Sanger Papers, accessed October 3, 2011.