Agnese Carter Nelms
Agnese Carter Nelms..The U.S. Appeals Court's 1936 ruling in United States v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries that the distribution of contraceptives was legal under certain conditions removed the main legal barrier to the establishment of birth control clinics, and the number of Texas clinics increased rapidly during the following three years. Agnese Carter Nelms was the key figure in this expansion.
After founding Houston's Maternal Health Center in February 1936, she assisted in the formation of at least four other clinics during the next three years: Austin (July 1937), Fort Worth (February 1938), San Antonio (July 1939), and Waco (October 1939). Clinics were also created in El Paso (April 1937) and San Angelo (November 1938).
Except for the El Paso clinic these were all affiliated with the American Birth Control League. Nelms also initiated the formation of the Birth Control League of Texas in June 1936 to advance that cause statewide and became its first president.
Because of her central role in the Texas birth control movement's growth, Nelms became
Texas's representative on the national organization's board of directors, and national leaders referred to her as the "Margaret Sanger of Texas."