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The diaphragm is one of humanity's oldest methods of contraception. The basic concept of the diaphragm has been used for centuries: Ancient Egyptians are said to have inventively used lemon halves or sponges to prohibit insemination. The diaphragm we know today was patented in 1882 by a German doctor Wilhelm Mesigna, and brought to America illegally by Margaret Sanger.
In 1916, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic through which she gave the women of Brooklyn, NY access to the diaphragm. Her clinic was only open ten days before it was shut down, and Sanger was arrested for committing the illegal act of disseminating “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” information as outlined by the Comstock Law of 1873.
Due to her influence and her legal battle, this law was later amended to exclude contraceptives. Thus, the diaphragm became one of the most common contraceptives for several decades in the 20th century. Popularity of the diaphragm began to wane in the 1960s with the introduction of oral contraception and the IUD, which were seen by many as simpler and easier methods of birth control.
"A History: the Diaphragm." Reproductive Health Access Project, 30 Apr. 2013, www.reproductiveaccess.org/2013/04/a-history-the-diaphragm/.
Burnette, Brandon R. "Comstock Act of 1873 (1873)." The First Amendment Encyclopedia, 2009, www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1038/comstock-act-of-1873#:~:text=T....
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Margaret Sanger". Encyclopedia Britannica, 10 Sep. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Margaret-Sanger. Accessed 18 October 2022.
Hansman, Heather. "Making a More Modern Diaphragm." The Atlantic, edited by Adrienne LaFrance, Emerson Collective, 20 Aug. 2015, www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/08/modern-diaphragm-caya-birth-c....
Harvey, S. Marie, et al. "A New Look at an Old Method: The Diaphragm." Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, vol. 35, no. 6, Nov. 2003, pp. 270-73, https://www.guttmacher.org/journals/psrh/2004/12/new-look-old-method-dia....