Margaret Sanger, "Into the Valley of Death--For What?," Apr 1914.
Published article. Source: The Woman Rebel, Vol. 1, No. 2, Apr. 1914, 12 , Margaret Sanger Microfilm C16:0526 .
Every woman who gives birth to a child goes down into the valley of death to do so.
Very few of the thousands of women who become mothers every year do so because they desire a child, or because of their patriotism, or any other stupid reason, but because they have motherhood forced upon them through ignorance of its prevention. "The nation lives in its children!" shout the priests from the thrones of the powerful, and "the children of to-day are the society of tomorrow!" echoes the philanthropist. Let us see how much they care about the child of to-morrow. The women of the rich do not produce children for the society of to-morrow. They call upon the working women--insist that she produce a future society so that they and their miserable few will have slaves to feed them. They know that as long as the working class bear children, this fact alone will keep it in poverty and usually in ignorance as well.
Both physically and mentally the children of the rich are developed to the highest degree. Schools, colleges, universities are built for them. The children of the working class are developed only that profits may be wrung from them as early in life or as soon as the masters dare to. Thousands of them have no school privileges, thousands more with only part time at school. Nine million little ones under fifteen years of age were at work as breadwinners in 1900. One million defectives fill the hospitals and charitable institutions. Reformatories and juvenile asylums are full to overflowing most of the time. Hospitals, insane asylums, jails and poor houses, old people's homes--these are the refuges for the children of the working class.
If all the children could be gathered together from the orphanages, jails and reformatories, together with the crippled and feeble-minded, the child victims of the cotton and silk mills and the sweated home industries, this huge army of little victims would open the eyes of the working woman to the realization that she must take the matter into her own hands and decide whether she wants to add to this number of unfortunates. This realization will force her to the greatest revolt of the ages--the revolt against introducing into the world another class of human beings to be starved, crippled and maimed for the masters.
The United States is the richest country in the world. Its industries are not so important that children should be murdered to keep them running. If it were a young country, toppling over under the stress of wars and famines, there might be some excuse for this outrage against unprotected childhood. As it is, the only explanation is the greedy desire for profit.
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project