Wesleyan University Speech Notes and Excerpts



Spatial Coverage


Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm Edition, Smith College Collections, S71:432


Margaret Sanger gave an address as part of a Wesleyan University undergraduate conference on marriage, held in Middletown,Connecticut. Other speakers included Erdman Harris, Father John M. Cooper, Dr.William B. Terhune, Rev. Roy B. Chamberlain and Dr. Clarence G. Campbell. A complete version of Sanger's talk has not been located, but additional quotes can befound in "Speech to the Hartford Branch of the Connecticut Birth Control League," Dec. 10, 1932.


Wells, H. G.
Hartford Courant
Connecticut State Law
Hugo, Victor
Shaw, George Bernard



Victor Hugo–- No force in theworld so great as that of an idea whose hour has struck. I believe that thehour for birth control has struck, because there is no subject that has so large a practical significance which at the same time cuts so deeply into the foundations of social evolution as birth control.

There is probably no other subject of equal importance, left so long in equal obscurity & yet none which can show so unequalled a rise on our national horizonas this question has done within the past few years.

G B Shaw says it’s the most revolutionary idea of the present century H G. Wells says it’s the most momentous fact of modern life.

The most intelligent English opinion of Church & the professions have claimed itto be of immediate importance in solving the Social & Economic problems of the world.

Birth Control is the signal of a new social & moral awakening. It is not only a health & economic expedient it’s a great social principle, interlocked with the future development of women & the spiritual progress of the race. Birth Control is the conscious control of the birth rate, by means that prevent the conception of life. The emphasis is placed on prevention & not on interference or destruction of life.

The emphasis is placed on control & not on limitation.

It is also placed on conscious control instead of the reckless abandon to the momen twith children the result. (haphazard &, accidental conceptions).

A generation ago it cost $10 to bring a baby into the world–-today because we have limited the output & placed a higher value on child life, we have increased its value & prepared the way for its higher development.

Birth Control will prevent children from being born to become buffers between two discordant parents, or become victims of marriage, of immature persons who make chattels of them for their own personal satisfaction or exploit them as wage earners to support an increasingly large family.

There are seven obvious reasons to practice birth control

1st When ever either man or woman has a transmissible disease. Insanity, feeblemindedness, epilepsy etc.

2nd. When the woman has any disease in which pregnancy complicates the cure such as tuberculosis, heart or kidney diseases.

3rd. When parents tho apparently normal have already produced subnormal or defective children, deaf mutes, cleft palates, mental defectives.

4 To allow two or three years between births in order to space the children to givethe mother a chance to recuperate & prepare for the next child.

5th. Birth control should be practiced until often the adolescent period is passed– even tho’ early marriage is advised or counselled.

6th BC should be practiced for economic reasons–-parents should not have more children than they can decently provide for.

7th. BC should be practiced for two or three years after marriage in order to make a better adjustment & to strengthen & cement the marriage bond, through understanding & knowledge of each other & through the development of mutual interests play & cultural interests.

There are Three ways to control the birth rate or the size of the family.

1 Continence

2 Sterilization

3 Chemical or mechanical means of preventing conception.

None of these should be advised by laymen–-not even the clergy.-- All methods to be safe, reliable & harmless must be individually considered by qualified persons with knowledge of psychology anatomy & physiology.

The Medical Profession

Conn. State lawSec 6246 makes it a crime for any one to use any drug chemical or mechanism for the purpose of preventing conception.

Fed law Sec 211 prevents Physicians or anyone from using the US mails or common carriers to in purchasing books, literature, supplies.

Conn State law is unique in its that it stands alone in the 48 States as an example of bad law which can not be enforced–- & insults the intelligence of its citizens by classing this law as "offences against Humanity and Morality.”