Margaret Sanger, "Suppression," Jun 1914.
Published article. Source: The Woman Rebel, Vol. 1, No. 4, June 1914, 25 , Margaret Sanger Microfilm, C16:0539 .
To suppress is an act of weakness. To suppress an idea is an admission that you are afraid of it, that its life is a threat upon yours. The persistent efforts of the Post office to suppress this paper emphasize its fear of the propaganda for birth control. Suppression of the idea by the Church also indicates that our parasitic institutions thrive upon the exploitation of Poverty--that Stupidity and Ignorance and Slavery are the foundations of Church, State, and Business.
Our fight is for the personal liberty of the women who work. A woman's body belongs to herself alone. It is her body. It does not belong to the Church. It does not belong to the United States of America or to any other Government on the face of the earth. The first step toward getting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for any woman is her decision whether or not she shall become a mother. Enforced motherhood is the most complete denial of a woman's right to life and liberty. The Church and the Government deny personal liberty to the women of the United States. They deny this liberty in the most complete and vital manner that it can be denied. And the federal Government arbitrarily suppresses any woman who dares to assert this right of personal freedom.
THE WOMAN REBEL has been calling upon women who work to fight against all things which enslave them, and has been trying to teach these women how to free themselves. The Postoffice has inaugurated a campaign to stamp THE WOMAN REBEL out of existence. In a certain sense, the Postoffice is to be congratulated upon its insight into the importance of our fight for birth control. Perhaps more than certain revolutionists, almost as much as the Catholic Church, the Government realizes that once the women of the United States are awakened to value of birth control, these institutions--Church, State, Big Business--will be struck such a blow that they will be able only to beg for mercy from the workers. Consequently, the Government officials are keenly awake to the necessity of nipping the idea of birth control in the bud. So free speech vanishes, liberty of the press becomes a thing of the past, a joke, personal liberty a mockery. If THE WOMAN REBEL were allowed to pass, the fight for free bodies would sweep the country like a conflagration. The revolutionary movement would be doubled in strength. This our benign Government realizes. Therefore its attempts--futile attempts--to crush out this idea.
But it is too late. The attempts at the suppression of a feeble effort like THE WOMAN REBEL only add fuel to the fire, only strengthen our cause, create new interest, and rejuvenate the revolutionary spirit in women. It is altogether too late to attempt a suppression of this idea of free bodies among working women.
If THE WOMAN REBEL were allowed to publish with impunity elementary and fundamental truths concerning personal liberty and how to obtain it, the birth control movement would become a movement of tremendous power in the emancipation of the working class. The attempted suppression is thus primarily a blow at the entire working class of America, intended for no other purpose than to retard the economic and spiritual emancipation of working men, women and children.
If you working women of the United States support THE WOMAN REBEL in this fight for the freedom of your own bodies, you will recreate the revolutionary spirit of your class, the ardor of which you yourselves have enchained in thousands of cases.
Nothing will cause the downfall of parasitic institutions like the Church, the State, and Big Business more than these attempts at suppression.
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project