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.
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.
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.
(69) They even turned to the big names of the birth control movement itself, with Lucina Irish Brown (the Milwaukee clinic's former secretary) writing to Marguerite Benson (then head of the American Birth Control League), (70) and Nurse Gordon sending out word to the biggest name of them all: Margaret Sanger herself.
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.
At long last, then, the American Birth Control League's campaign to get AMA recognition was finally won because not only did the medical organization now back physician-supervised birth control, but it also came out with at least a modest show of support for the institution around which the national birth control organization was based: the birth control clinic itself.
Within a year, the clinic had supplied contraceptive information to 1,208 women.(25) By 1929, the number of medically supervised birth-control clinics across the country had increased to twenty-eight, almost all of which were affiliated with Sanger's parent organization, the American Birth Control League
.(26) Sanger was also responsible for facilitating the domestic manufacture of diaphragms and spermicidal jellies, clinics' contraception of choice.