Richmond News Leader Interview




"Predicts Clinics on Birth Control Soon in Virginia," The Richmond News Leader, May 17, 1933, pp. 1 and 22


A summary of an interview Sanger gave before speaking at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.


Richmond News Leader



Predicts Clinics on Birth Control Soon in Virginia

Mrs. Margaret Sanger Gives Views on Subject as She Arrives for Lecture.

Present economic conditions and unemployment coupled with the fact that the loss of private fortunes will throw the major burden of philanthropic work on county, state and federal governments, will make birth control clinics throughout the country a necessity, believes Mrs. Margaret Sanger, pioneer birth control advocate, who arrived in Richmond earlier today to give a public lecture in the Egyptian building of the medical college tonight.

“It will not be long,” said Mrs. Sanger, “before federal and state governments will come face to face not only with the waste of life caused by the fact that birth control information is not legalized, but by the increasing burden on the taxpayer to maintain the unfortunate and often malformed children which are the result of lack of information on the subject.

"Virginia, which is one of the most progressive states in the Union in her wonderful eugenic laws, and which has accomplished a remarkable achievement in increasing her birthrate while decreasing the death rate, will undoubtedly I believe shortly establish birth control clinics in her borders.”

Sees Changes in Sentiment

The slender, auburn-haired, grey-eyed little woman with the soft voice, to whom birth control is "like a religion" for which she sacrificed a famiy ad friends in the early days of her campaign when the subject was taboo, has at last lived to see the day when "public sentiment is overwhelmingly in favor of it," she said.

"Only one state in the Union, Mississippi, will not legally allow a physician to give out information on the subject," she declared. “All the other states have some leeway in the matter.”

"The great need is for the federal birth control laws to be so amended that information may be sent through the mails or sent by public carriers,” she declared.

At present birth control information is undoubtedly widely disseminated throughout the country, and there are more than 135 legally established clinics. However, all the literature and supplies are literally “bootlegged” into the states under existing federal laws.

“Birth control belongs with science, preventive medicine, public relief and public health work. It should be treated with dignity and taken out of the class of things which is practiced only surreptitiously,” she announced.

Benefits General Welfare.

“Where clinics have been established, prosperity has increased, the death rate, particularly as regards infant mortality, has been cut, and general conditions have been bettered.”

Mrs. Sanger said that she was much surprised to read in yesterday's News Leader of the attempt of the Catholic Layman's League to prevent her talk here.

“The Catholics block our plans wherever they can,” she said. “However in places where public sentiment is firmly established they can do little. Moreover sentiment among Catholic women I find is changing in favor of birth control, and many individuals in the church are seeking information on the subject.”

The action of the Virginia Federation of Labor, Mrs. Sanger pronounced one of the most progressive things they could have done.