Katti Anker Møller
|Katti Anker Møller|
Katti Anker Møller, c. 1910
23 October 1868
|Died||20 August 1945(aged 76)|
|Occupation||Children's rights advocate, reproductive rights pioneer, lecturer|
Katti Anker Møller (23 October 1868 – 20 August 1945) was a Norwegian feminist, children's rights advocate, and a pioneer of reproductive rights. She is known to posterity as the "advocate of mothers."
She was born Cathrine Anker in Hamar, the daughter of Herman Anker. She had nine siblings and grew up around the first folk high school at Sagatun in Hamar, founded by her father. Educated as a teacher, she spent a year in France, where her exposure to the life of prostitutes and single mothers affected her profoundly. Her mother died at the age of 50, apparently exhausted from her many pregnancies though the number of children she had was normal for her time.
She married her cousin Kai Møller from the mansion of Thorsø in Torsnes, now part of Fredrikstad, in 1889, with whom she had three children, among them the physician Tove Mohr, whose daughter Tove Pihl has carried on the pro-choice activism in Norway. Møller took an early interest in the dangers of too many childbirths, and the plight of unmarried women and their children. Her modus operandi was to travel and give lectures in local meetings, a revolutionary approach for a woman of her time.
In collaboration with her brother-in-law Johan Castberg, she worked tirelessly to legislate the rights of children born out of wedlock. This culminated in the institution of the so-called Castberg laws passed by the Norwegian parliament in 1915. These laws were revolutionary in their time in giving illegitimate children full rights of inheritance and the right to use their fathers' last names.
She then turned her attention to decriminalizing abortion in Norway, an idea she presented through a lecture called "the liberation of motherhood," with the subtitle "the production of children under culture, the woman's right to decide over her own body." This was met with broad opposition, also from women.
She was not dissuaded and continued her efforts, adding birth control to her causes. In spite of opposition from opinion leaders such as Sigrid Undset, she managed to establish the first "hygiene office" in Oslo to inform women on contraception.
She once said that "everything that I have accomplished, was to honor my mother."
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