Sanger spoke before the Washington Planned Parenthood Association at the home of Louise Chase Myers.
U.S. Birth Rate Now Exceeds India's
Margaret Sanger yesterday declared supporters of the birth control program are bringing it back to the people for whom it was intended-the low income families.
And Washington, she said, is pioneering in helping low-income parents to learn how families can be limited.
Still battling for her cause at age 73, the founder of the American birth control movement is in town to help Washington's Planned Parenthood Association celebrate its 21st birthday.
A "coming of age"
party in honor of the event is scheduled this evening at the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Hewitt Myers, 2310 S st. nw. Mrs. Myers worked staunchly with Mrs. Sanger during the several legal fights to permit dissemination of birth control information.
Washington's Planned Parenthood group currently is sending a social worker into low-income housing developments to acquaint families with its program and to refer them for medical advice.
"The program never was intended for middle-class families who could afford to go to doctors, who were not so tied down with children that they were prevented from getting to clinics," Mrs. Sanger said.
"It was intended for low-income families but it must be brought to them. The success of the Washington program in getting information to those who need it has caused Chicago, Kansas City and Dallas to adopt the same approach."
Mrs. Sanger began crusading for birth control in 1914 after having nursed a young woman who later died in childbirth. She vowed then to go to the root of the trouble.
"So women could have babies only when their health and purses permitted."
At that time, she said, the campaign had dramatic appeal because many persons were aroused over the "wretched effects" that lack of family planning had on mothers' health.
"With the improvement in maternal health and child welfare in this country," she continued, the need to battle for birth control is not so glaringly apparent.
"But to people who care about what their own children and grandchildren are going to face," Mrs. Sanger said it is "alarming" that this Nation is so far behind other countries in birth control programs.
Emphasizing that our birth rate now is higher than India's, Mrs. Sanger noted that India, Japan, and a number of other countries are financing programs to bring birth control information to their people.
"Our failure to act similarly, she said, "comes because we don't have fun with ideas any more, everything is pleasant, we have nice conversations and don't battle with the opposition."
Regarding the recent local battle of the Planned Parenthood Association to be admitted to United Community Services for financial support, Mrs. Sanger said she was against Planned Parenthood chapters becoming Chest members because they become weak and ineffective.
Just back from Honolulu and off to London soon, Mrs. Sanger is not expected to ever stop fighting for her cause--but her fight cannot be interpreted as one against large families. With a wide smile, she states that one of her two doctor sons has six children but, she adds, "they were planned--or so they tell me."