Margaret Sanger, "News Letter From Mrs. Sanger," 1932.
Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Library of CongressL ibrary of Congress Microfilm 20:1128."
My recent experiences, while on a speaking tour, have shown me the extent to which the Roman Catholic Church dictates the policy of the municipal authorities in many of our cities. I was scheduled to speak in Albany, March 6th, at the Jewish Community Center. A week before the lecture, several Catholic officials tried to bring pressure to bear thru non-Catholic agencies to get the Jewish Community Center to rescind their invitation. Fortunately, the Auditorium belonged to the Jewish Group and the Mayor was unable to revoke the license.
The same forces tried to break up the meeting at New Haven. The issue there was between the Young Men's Hebrew Association and a Catholic priest from Nebraska who was conducting a Mission. The Catholics succeeded in getting the license for the High School revoked at noon Saturday. Thanks to Dr. A. N. Creadick, President of the Connecticut Birth Control League, Dr. Winternitz of the Yale University School of Medicine, members of the Liberal Club group, the Junior League, and others, who formed a large delegation which met in the Mayor's office early Monday morning to demand a permit for the meeting, this was finally granted for the Fox Theatre on Tuesday night. In view of the widespread indignation, the opposition did not dare push the matter further. According to newspaper reports, approximately 1800 people were present at the meeting.
The permit permitting me to speak at the junior high school was revoked on the ground that Birth Control was not a suitable subject to discuss in a high school. Nevertheless, the following week the Rev. Martin F. Doran, chaplain of the Holy Name Society, spoke against birth control in the Fairhaven High School, at a meeting attended by 300 people. One can see that in the State of Connecticut, it is legal and moral to speak against a subject, but it seems unlawful to speak for the same subject; in other words, freedom of speech depends upon which side you are on.
In Boston I addressed a group of Harvard Medical Students, under the auspices of the Lancet Club. The majority of those present were third year students; several had graduated and were doing internship, but my address was the first information on contraception that they had received.
On my West Virginia trip, it was again a story of Catholic interference. The result was that the Cabell County Medical Society of Huntington rescinded their invitation. However, thanks to the courage and fine spirit of Dr. James S. Klumpp, Dr. William Strange and others, I was asked to speak under the auspices of an independent group of twenty physicians, and the meeting was held at the Pritchard Hotel, and was open to the public. Fully 1000 people attended and approximately 400 were turned away. I have great hopes that the interest aroused may shortly result in the establishment of a clinic.
I also spoke at several mining camps near Charleston. W. Va., and found there conditions that would horrify us were we living in a [one or two words ] . The women were most interested and very intelligent. The men more silent and opinion seemed somewhat divided among them. As a result of those meetings, however, another meeting was arranged the following week by the Catholic group to offset no doubt the favorable reaction toward birth control that a proper presentation of the subject arouses.
There are plans under way to equip a birth control caravan for the mountains camps of West Virginia. This would make it possible for mothers living in remote places to have proper advice. The idea was greeted with enthusiasm and gratitude by the miners' wives.
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project