Margaret Sanger, "A Little Lesson," Sep-Oct 1914.
Published article. Source: The Woman Rebel, Vol. 1, No. 7, Sept.-Oct. 1914, 53 , Margaret Sanger Microfilm, C16:567 .
Query.--What is Birth Control?
Answer.--A Science which teaches that poverty and social evils can be greatly reduced by encouraging people to have small families.
Q.--Why should people only have small families?
A.--(1) In order to be able to feed, clothe, house and educate their children
(2) In order to preserve the mother's health, strength and happiness;
(3) In order to avoid overcrowding the labour market and keeping down wages by competition.
Q.--How can people limit their families?
A.--In two ways. One is by ceasing to live a natural mated life. The other is to employ the means which have been discovered for avoiding having children without giving up the sex-life.
Q.--Is it not wrong to use artificial means for avoiding having children?
A.--It is not wrong provided that no means are employed which would injure the parents or any child which is once on the way.
Q.--Are not artificial methods of restricting families bad for the health?
A.--It used to be thought so. But within the last few years it has become clear that there is not justification for this belief.
Here are some facts:-
(a) Doctors nearly all have small families nowadays.
(b) the Presidents of the British Association and of the American Medical Association have both spoken in favor of family limitation.
(c) In 1911 the Hungarian Medical Senate gave a judgment in favor of permitting the use of preventive means.
(d) Wherever small families have become the rule the health of the nation has improved; and it is not improved when families have remained large.
Q.--Does not family limitation mean race suicide?
A.--No, it does not. Large families mean race slaughter, because so many mouths cannot be fed, and large numbers parish.
Q.--Would not a knowledge of preventive means encourage young people in immorality?
A.--Perhaps it might if it were taught to very young people without warning them properly in other ways and warning them of the terrible risk of disease. But if young people are told that they can marry because there is no need of having children before they can support them, and if they are given the knowledge when they marry, it will improve morality by taking them away from temptation.
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project