[The Necessity for Birth Control in the United States]




"Mrs. Sanger's Talk Gets By Police Censors," San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 19, 1922, p. 3


Sanger spoke before 1200 people in a mass meeting sponsored by American Women's Independence Committee at California Hall in San Francisco. 625 Polk Street 94102.


San Francisco Chronicle




"Birth control does not mean race suicide," declared Margaret Sanger, head of the Birth Control league, in an address yesterday afternoon before an audience in California hall. "Scientific birth control has already operated in a number of countries such as Holland, New Zealand and others, for sufficient time to demonstrate that instead of race suicide the percentage of infant survivals has been greatly increased with a better type and class of manhood and a decrease in population."

The speaker traced the history of birth control, maintaining that it was not a new idea. She said it was, in fact, one of nature's fundamental laws, as is the natural course of events without the interference of science, nature will weed out the sick, the old and feeble and the diseased to make room for the strong and healthy.

Describes Two Groups

Mrs. Sanger declared that the human race has divided broadly into two classes, the large family group and the small family group. She insisted that in the latter group are to be found culture, leisure, wealth and two or three children, who are brought up under the best conditions, sent to universities and given every advantage in life. In the large family group, according to the speaker, are found poverty, misery, the tenement life, infant and maternal mortality and the breeding place of all today's vital sociological problems.

"Yet it is from the former group that the greatest clamor comes against giving to the latter group the information which allows the small family group to be what it is," said the speaker.

Defends Birth Control

"Not only do we want to protect society from further propagation of the sick and insane," said Mrs. Sanger, "but we want to make motherhood a conscious and voluntary act, giving her a chance to develop her own indviduality and that of her children."

"You have been told that birth control is against the laws of God. I say to you that if you, as an indivudal, believe in God as a divine intelligence who has endowed you with the power to think and to reason, then you certainly are at liberty to apply that intelligence according to the dictates of your conscience."

"Every advance in science has been attacked in this same manner. It is against the laws of nature for a man to shave, to cut his hair, to walk on two legs instead of four, to ride in street cars, or to submit to an operation to save his life, just as much as it is against those laws for him to practice birth control," said the speaker.

Wants Scientific Clinics

"What we need at present is scientific clinics at which the fundamentals of birth control can be taught. We should get away from the backyard gossip and through the clinic bring to the poor woman who cannot afford to pay for it under the present conditions the same information that the rich woman gets today."

The speaker denied that birth control would result in race suicide. She maintained that the maternal instinct is so great in women that they will perform the sacred duty of bearing and rearing children, but that with control an established fact the work will be done under conditions which are best for both mother and child.

Mrs. Sanger told of being excluded from Japan, but expressed the hope that this ban would eventually be lifted. She emphasized the need of the doctrine in Japan, saying,

"When the pressure of population gets too great in any country there can be but two ways of relief. One is war, with its attendant loss of life and possible increase in territory in the case of the victor and the other is through scientific birth control. Of the two, I believe that the latter is by far the better way."

Will Go to England

The speaker said that she will continue her journey to the Orient, lecturing in China and India, and going on to England, where she will attend an international conference on birth control.

Mrs. Mary Parson acted as chairman of the meeting, introducing the speaker. During the questioning which followed the regular lecture a woman in the audience asked, "is there any book now published which gives inside information on birth control?"

Mrs. Sanger smiled and, nodding toward the door of the hall, answered, "There are two policemen standing at the door who would be very glad to know the answer to that question."

A detail of plain clothes offiers was present at the meeting. Mrs. Katherine Eisenhart was a member of the detail. No action was taken by the officers to stop the lecture or to prevent the distribution of pamphlets, which were given out at the door.