Margaret Sanger, "Catholics and Birth Control ," 13 Jun 1934.
Published article. Source: New Republic, LXXIX:1019 (13 June 1934): 129 , Library of Congress Microfilm 134:354A .
This letter was drafted for Margaret Sanger on May 8, 1934 by the editors of New Republic based on her 14th Newsletter of the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control. Sanger approved it for publication on May 10 and it was published under the heading "Catholics and Birth Control" in the June 13, 1934 issue of the New Republic.
SIR: The Catholic opponents of birth control are evidently unaware of the dissatisfaction among the intelligent men and women of their own faith regarding the attitude their Church has taken on birth control. To satisfy this element there was recently published a book called “Rhythm,” loudly praised by Catholic prelates and press, which explains in detail, and to the hour, when conception cannot take place. Most of us have long ago discarded the safe-period theory as a method available for general application. This book, however, was written by a physician and is published with “Ecclesiastical Approbation,” which means that it has the approval of the Roman Catholic Church.
Our opponents are evidently unaware of the contents of this book, for every argument they have ever used against contraception is supported in the book on behalf of the safe-period method. All the ballyhoo of “race suicide,” “the race dying out,” “immorality,” is answered by the author with fearless intelligence and in a spirit that one respects.
On the general principles of limiting or controlling the size of the family-- on the needs, rights and morality of the practice, we seem to be in perfect agreement. On methods we entirely disagree. The Catholic opponents advocate a safe period. The non-Catholic proponents desire to place all responsibility concerning methods in the hands of the medical profession.
The federal laws, however, state clearly that “any” information to prevent conception sent through the United States Mails is illegal. The Post Office has informed us that “Rhythm” by Dr. Latz is mailable, but that "Contraceptive Practices,” by Dr. Hannah M. Stone, is unmailable.
The twenty million members of the Catholic faith now have a method of Birth Control legally sanctioned by the Post Office authorities and morally sanctioned by the hierarchy. But what about the one hundred and four millions of non-Catholics who prefer other methods of birth control or who do not think the safe period is safe?Washington, D. C.
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project