Margaret Sanger, "Birth Control and Religion," 04 Feb 1936.

Typed Speech. Source: Margaret Sanger Papers, Library of Congress. , Library of Congress Microfilm, 128:0454. .


Proponents and opponents of birth control quote scripture to support their point of view, and the number of quotations on each side will probably total to an equal number. A better way of determining where religious organizations stand on this issue is to consider the actual organized religious groups which have expressed an opinion on the subject. Outstanding among those who have placed themselves on record as supporting the principles of birth control are the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church, the Committee on Marriage and the Home of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, the Unitarian Associations, the Universalist General Convention, Regional Conferences of the Methodist Church, a Special Committee of the Women’s Problems Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends, the Rabbinical Assembly of America, the General Council of Congregational and Christian Churches, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Add to these and many others, the support of special and local organizations within the general denominational divisions and we have a pretty complete united front of the Protestant and Jewish faiths, endorsing birth control as an aid to mortality and happy marriage. Lay groups affiliated with the church, such as Y.W.C.A., Y.M.C.A., National Council of Jewish Women, and other women’s church organizations, bring up reinforcements.

What is the reasoning behind this support? Birth control, it is felt, will make for earlier marriages and happier marriages. Many young people will marry and start a home if they can feel that they can postpone the arrival of children and plan their families, instead of leaving the matter to blind and ruthless chance. Many a marriage will be preserved if birth control can be used to space the arrival of babies to conserve the mother’s health so that she can make an adequate home life for herself, her husband, and her children.

Reverend Russell J. Clinchy, Minister of the Mount Pleasant Congregational Church in Washington, summed the matter up recently in an address as follows: “There is now laid before mankind a new power which may be used in the creation of healthier, happier, more richly endowed generations of children; of homes in which children may be given an adequate birthright and the fullest portion of love and care; of marriage in which the spectre of unwanted pregnancies need not occur; of a social order which may be created without war and economic disaster through overpopulation. For those who believe that the knowledge of the universe is of God, birth control, this new power, will open the gates of life and usefulness, and will bring the realization of the true joy and meaning of human love.”

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