Margaret Sanger, "Sayings of Others," 1921.
"Family limitation will always be practiced, as it is now being practiced, either by Birth Control or by abortion. We know that. The one means health and happiness--a stronger, better race. The other means disease, suffering, death.
"When all is said and done, it is not the advocates of Birth Control but the bitter, unthinkable CONDITIONS, brought about by the blindness of church, state and society, that puts up to all three the question: BIRTH CONTROL or ABORTION--WHICH SHALL IT BE?
"Why put these thousands of women who each year undergo such abortions, to the pain they entail, and in whatever danger attends to them?
Why continue to send home women to whom pregnancy is a grave danger, with the futile advice 'Now don't get this way again!' . . . . . They are sent back without being given information as to how to prevent the dangerous pregnancy and are expected presumably, to depend for their safety upon the husband's continence. Back comes the patient again in a few months, to be aborted and told not to do it again. . . . .
"Consultation rooms in charge of reputable physicians who have specialized in contraception, assisted by registered nurses--in a word CLINICS designed for this specialty--would meet this crying need. Such clinics should deal with each woman individually, taking into account her particular disease, her temperament, her mentality, and her condition, both physical and economic. Its sole function would be to prevent pregnancy. In the accomplishment of this a higher standard of hygiene is attained."
". . . . . We hear a good deal of sentimentality about unfailing mother love. We are told that even these unwanted children have that to protect them in their hard lots. But how few of the poorer women have the time and the strength to let mother love develop and express itself?"..."We forget that under the stress of caring for many children, under the strain of helping to earn bread for hungry mouths and clothing for bodies clothed in rags, the strongest mother love may turn bitter and cruel."
"Is anything more horrible, more hopeless than the cruelty of a mother worried and tired to distraction?" . . . . . .
"Which of us has not seen such cruelty, even in the streets? A case significant only because it is of frequent occurrence, came to my attention a few months ago. A woman, evidently worn out by a day's work, was wheeling a child in a baby buggy in 14th St. Another child, about three years old, was trudging at her side, clinging heavily to her skirts. . . . It cried monotonously as it walked. The mother, apparently in frantic haste to reach home. . . . suddenly felt the drag of the weary, crying child. She struck it, first across one side of its little face and then the other. The tiny thing, surprised by the sudden attack, fell face downward upon the sidewalk. The furious, nerve-wrecked mother, picked it up by the chin and struck it again and again on the back until a passer-by interfered. To a threat of arrest she retorted: 'Oh, you shut up. This is my kid and I'll lick it when I want to'."
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project