First, we must take seriously what I call "Irregular" birth control clinics (those sponsored by nurses, chiropractors, and commercial entrepreneurs), for to do otherwise would be to perpetuate what the American Birth Control League (ABCL) would have us believe, that such clinics were nothing more than the work of quacks or scoundrels whose only purpose was to profit off their patrons' desperation.
Therein lies the key to one part of my story, for only in light of this can we more fully understand why, in 1935, the American Birth Control League put into place its own standards for clinic certification, standards which clearly hoped to establish its clinics' allegiance to the professional medical world.
What her story reveals, in part, are the limitations of the historiography on twentieth-century birth control, in particular that on the American Birth Control League and its related national birth control organizations.
In many ways, then, Adele's work could be described by some as quite radical (as will become more clear in a moment), but as far as the birth control clinic movement more generally was concerned, what she did was really quite conservative, if not also very much in line with what the American Birth Control League hoped its clinics would do as well.
Yet their significance remains important nonetheless, for their presence (scant or pervasive as it may have been) would be enough to provoke a response from the American Birth Control League.
And while the Illinois State Medical Society was pushing the AMA to consider stricter guidelines on clinics, the American Birth Control League (as well as Sanger's newly established National Committee for Federal Legislation on Birth Control) was lobbying to get the organization's support for contraceptives as well.
85) Where the American Birth Control League was concerned, there could have been no more apt way to put it, for, in the immediate wake of Gordon's acquittal, the League worked in a variety of ways to shore up the legitimacy of what it regarded as the only true birth control clinic movement in the nation, that which adhered to its strict new medical rules.
As Cathy Moran Hajo has explained, conversations about this process had already begun to take place within the American Birth Control League as early as the mid 1920s, only to grow more complicated, if not also more territorial, upon Sanger's 1929 departure.
99) Indeed, throughout this whole affair, the American Birth Control League had little interest in promoting her story.
In the wake of her acquittal, Milwaukee witnessed the emergence of a new birth control organization (the Maternal Health League of Milwaukee), an organization which immediately earned the backing of the American Birth Control League which, in turn, dutifully described its activities on the pages of the Birth Control Review.
Indeed, for all the efforts of the American Birth Control League to contain this institution in its early stages of development, what it would become in the years that followed was in many ways quite different.