The Spread of the Birth Control Movement




Muskogee (OK) Times-Democrat, Dec. 11, 1922, p. 5


No draft version found. This article was published under different titles in different newspapers, including: "Birth Control Aims Explained," Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner, Dec. 24, 1922, and "Concerning the Spread of the Birth Control Movement," (Helena, MT) Independent Record, Dec. 13, 1922, p. 9.


Muskogee Times-Democrat




Within the span of a single generation I see birth control established both in public opinion, as desirable and necessary, and in practice in all strata of society.

The poor will be helped by means of clinics, and public opinion will demand the sterilization of those whose progeny would be injurious.

I base this prediction on the rapid spread of the idea in this country during the last eight years since the effort has been made to put forward the propaganda; on the tremendous demand that exists for it among women who are now in possession of political power; and on the conclusion reached by eminent eugenicists, like Professor E.W. Macbride, by economists, like John Maynard Keynes and Harold Cox, and by statisticians like Horatio Pollack, that only through the deliberate restriction of births can society escape the catastrophe which will submerge our present civilization.

A World Question

The statesmen of the old world are already face to face with the problem. The solution of it is at hand, and a few years of clear thinking, under the leadership of writers and statesmen will create a demand for a change in our present policy.

In making this prediction I have also vividly in mind the readiness with which the idea of birth control is being accepted in Japan, China and India.

If China--the home of conservatism--can adapt itself to this idea, surely it cannot be long before the conservatism of certain groups in the United States, England and France is compelled to give way before the new forces which are behind the movement for birth control.

Purpose of Movement

In reply to the question, what is the purpose of birth control? I would say briefly that birth control opens the way to a new and better civilization and freer, finer, nobler human race.

It will free women from their age-long slavery to unwilling motherhood.

It will insure that each child born into the world shall be welcome, and shall have a fair chance of both sound mind and healthy body as well as for adequate support and care from its parents, and opportunity in life, in a social system, free from the overcrowding of the present day.

An Educational Move

It will banish war--so far as war has been due to over-population and the demand of a nation which is strong and aggressive for a place in the sun for its ever-increasing numbers.

It will raise the level of living for the workers, for the supply will not be so great in excess of the demand as to cause unemployment and the crowding down of wages.

It will diminish the burdens of taxation and charity and so release the more thrifty members of the community and enable them to sustain their numbers.

I have no plan for imposing birth control on the nation by law. Our aim is rather to sweep away legislation which now prevents access to birth control knowledge.