Margaret Sanger, " [Editorial] ," Feb 1937.
Published article. Source: Alice Park Papers, Henry Huntington Library , Margaret Sanger Microfilm C16:408 .
Now that Attorney General Homer S. Cummings has announced that the Government will rest its case and not carry it to the U.S. Supreme Court, the decision of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals becomes, in effect, the law of the land. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Morris L. Ernst for his gallant and successful fight, to Judge Grover M. Moscowitz of the lower Court for his wise stand and to Judges Learned S. Hand, Thomas W. Swan and Augustus N. Hand of the Circuit Court for unanimously upholding his far-sighted decision. There is no further question as to the rights of the medical profession in regard to contraception. The birth control movement is free.
What lies ahead? I call upon every one of you, who have so loyally supported the National Committee’s work, to push steadily forward with double energy. For a constructive and inspiring program is now possible.
Make known to hospitals, relief agencies, philanthropic and public health officials, that the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals frees their hands; that the federal statutes are no longer a stumbling block. Call on public health officials and ask that birth control instruction be included in their services. Establish clinics. There are today approximately 320 birth control centers in America. I look forward to seeing not twice that number, but ten times that number at the close of 1937. Let this be our immediate objective.
Beyond this, other, more far-reaching things wait to be done. Some means must be provided for testing contraceptive products and standardizing those offered for sale. Research looking toward simpler and cheaper methods must go forward, and experimental methods must be carefully and scientifically studied. Birth control must be understood by the public at large; it must be removed from the realm of propaganda and argument, and accepted as a way of life. Let your neighbors and your friends, your doctors, hospital boards, newspaper editors, social workers, lawyers, everyone with whom you come in contact -- understand clearly what birth control can do for the individual family, for the nation and for the world.
While educational work in the birth control movement has been going on for twenty years, public opinion crystallized in the drive to amend the Federal laws. During the past seven years, since the formation of the National Committee in 1929, a thousand organizations, representing an aggregate membership of many millions, have given their support and approzimately tow hundred thousand individuals have personally enrolled as endorsers. This is truly a magnificent record and an achievement of which we can all be justly proud.
But this interest, which has been so splendidly focused on birth control legislation, is only the prelude. The National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control has done what it set out to do; it has fought a good fight and won. Wider activities are before us. The younger men and women, whose energies have only just been aroused, and who are “all set to go,” must be organized for action, younger leaders must pass from the task of clearing away obstacles to the concrete program of founding clinics and establishing birth control as a public health service.
In India I heard the proverb: “Knowledge is to know what to do, skill is knowing how to do it, virtue is doing it.” Our future activities will, with your help, bring to the birth control movement, not only knowledge and skill, but virtue as well.
The next issue of the NEWS will contain more definite details about these activities.
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project