Margaret Sanger, " [Wesleyan Speech notes] ," 12 Dec 1932.

Autograph draft speech. Source: Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College , MSMS71:0432 .


Westleyan Dec 12/32

Victor Hugo– No force in the world so great as that of an idea whose hour has struck. I believe that the hour for birth control has struck, because there is no subject that has so large a practical significance which at the same time cuts so deeply into the foundations of social evolution as birth control.

There is probably no other subject of equal importance, left so long in equal obscurity & yet none which can show so unequalled a rise on our National horizon as this question has done within the past few years.

G B Shaw says it's the most revolutionary idea of the present century HG. Wells says it's the most momentous fact of modern life.

The most intelligent English opinion of Church & the professions have claimed it to be of ↑immediate ↓ importance in solving the Social & Economic problems of the world.

Birth Control is the signal of a new Social & Moral awakening. It is not only a health & economic expedient it's a great Social principle, interlocked with the ↑future↓ development of women & the spiritual progress of the race. Birth Control is the conscious control of the birth rate, by means that prevent the conception of life. The emphasism is placed on prevention & not on interferrence or destruction of life.

The emphasism is placed on Control & not on limitation.

It is also placed on conscious control instead of the reckless abandon to the moment with children the result. (haphazard, accidental conceptions) A generation ago it cost $10 to bring a baby into the world– today because we have limited the output & placed a higher value on child life, we have increased its value & prepared the way for its higher development.

Birth Control will prevent children from being born to become buffers between two discordent parents, or become victims of marriage, of immature persons who make chattels of them for their own personal satisfaction or exploit them as wage earners to support an increasingly large family.

There are seven ↑obvious↓ reasons to practice birth control

1st When ever either man or woman has a transmissable disease. Insanity, feeblemindedness, epilepsy etc.

2nd. When the woman has any disease in which pregnancy complicates the cure such as tuberculosis, heart or kidney diseases.

3rd- When parents tho aparently normal have already produced subnormal or defective children, deaf mutes, cleft palates, mental [defectives?] .

4 To allow two or three years between births in order to space the children to give the mother a chance to recuperate & prepare for the next child.

5th. Birth control should be practiced until often the adolescent period is passed– even tho' early marriage is advised or councelled.

6th BC should be practiced for economic reasons– parents should not have more children than they can decently provide for.

7th. BC should be practiced for two or three years after marriage in order to make a better adjustment & to strengthen & cement the marriage bond, through understanding & knowledge of each other & through the development of mutual interests play & cultural interests.

There are Three ways to control the birth rate or the size of the family.

1 Continence

2 Sterilization

3 Chemical or mechanical means of preventing conception.

None of these should be advised by laymen– not even the clergy.– all methods to be safe, reliable & harmless must be individually considered by qualified persons with knowledge of psychology anatomy & physiology.

The Medical Profession

Conn. State law Sec 6246 makes it a crime for any one to use any drug ↑chemical or mechanical↓ for the purpose of preventing conception.

Fed law Sec 211. Prevents Physicians or anyone from using the US mails or Common carriers to in purchasing books, literature, supplies Conn State law is unique in its that it stands alone in the 48 States as an example of bad law which can not be enforced– & insults the intelligence of its citizens by classing this law as “offences against Humanity and Morality.”


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Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project


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