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Margaret Sanger, "American Conference on Birth Control and National Recovery Welcoming Address," 15 Jan 1934.

Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Library of CongressLibrary of Congress Microfilm 125:347-349."

For another version of this address, see Address of Welcome, Jan. 15, 1934. For newspaper coverage of Sanger's comments at this event, see Statement on the American Conference on Birth Control and National Recovery, Jan. 15, 1934. For partial versions of this speech, delivered in Washington, see Library of Congress Microfilm 131:64B, and Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections, S71:642, 645, and 647.


I have the honor to open the AMERICAN CONFERENCE ON BIRTH CONTROL AND NATIONAL RECOVERY, which is held under the auspices of the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control, Inc.

This is the 2nd National Conference to be held in this country--and to this I bid you a cordial and hearty welcome. It is the first ever held in the District of Columbia, where we have had cooperation and help on an extensive scale.

↑appropriate where all our troubles began 60 years ago↓

(Introducing Mrs. Dryden)

I want to now introduce you to the Chairman of the Reception Committee of the District of Columbia, whose help and assistance, whose guidance and sound advice, has helped to make this Conference the success that we hope it is going to be.

I have the pleasure of introducing Mrs. John F. Dryden.

(Response to Mrs. Dryden.)

I thank you, Mrs. Dryden, on behalf of the National Committee on Federal Legislation and on behalf of the delegates and speakers of this Conference.

The Birth Control movement had its beginning in this country in 1914--just 20 years ago. During that time there have been more than 11 State, 6 Regional, and 6 International Conferences (besides the most recent one in London last November, called the Asiatic Conference, which was preliminary to the work ↑the international clubs↓ we are planning to do in the Orient in 1935. Then we ↑now↓ emerge into ↑come to↓ the 20th Anniversary of the Modern Birth Control Movement not only in this country but throughout the world.

While the problem of population was recognized by intelligent thinkers, especially in England, since the days of Malthus, the slogan of the Neo-Malthusians was to "Educate the Educators"; while the slogan of the Birth Control movement is to "Educate the Masses".

We have gone a good way toward ↑accomplish↓ our goal and it is safe to say that the masses are ready and desirous to receive this ↑B.C.↓ information when it is made available for their use.

This knowledge should not remain the privilege of the well-to-do. It should become the right of the millions of poor, worried, struggling mothers who ask only the right to knowledge that they may free themselves from intolerable conditions akin to slavery, and have a chance to develop ↑bodies minds & souls↓ and to pursue happiness for themselves and their children.

Laws are in the way to this objective. We must enlighten our legislators ↑lawmakers↓ to this effect. It should be the duty of our government to provide for the diseased, the inefficient, the overburdened and unfit, and others who may desire it, the best information on contraception ↑ves↓ available.

If the Government will give the same consideration to the forgotten Woman that it has given to the Forgotten man--we may yet rectify the deplorable situation created by ↑the Comstock laws ↓ our, differential birthrate.

The past twenty years have been years of struggle against injustice, intolerance, arrogance and legal ↑overwhelming↓ obstacles. But in spite of opposition from such quarters ↑,↓ as well as from others who should have supported this cause, the movement has advanced rapidly and ↑has↓ gained millions of friends and advocates. It is gaining momentum every year, ↑& in every country↓ and the time is not far off when this government will be called upon to face the question of birth control ↑for the common people↓ and sterilization as well ↑for the feebleminded & unfit↓ . We can lay at the doors of the opponents of this movement a large part of the misery and poverty arising from the huge arrag ↑army↓ of unemployed, whose suffering, hopelessness, and loss of self respect have spread like an epidemic throughout the Nation.

We are gathered here today, workers in the field from 25 states, to discuss some of the greatest problems that are now confronting a new world. Many ↑of us↓ believe that the advance of the birth control movement, means the advance of civilization, and that the direction this movement shall take from now on, shall decide the future of the country's welfare.

We are here to help in its direction; we are here to discuss the problems constantly arising within the movement itself as well as from without. We are here to share our discoveries with each other, ↑to share↓ what we have learned from our experience; and we are here to awaken ↑a keener↓ realization and interest ↑,↓ in these problems in the public ↑and↓ to strengthen our faith ↑in the future↓ and to broaden our vision that it may embrace the entire world.

When the history of the ↑BC↓ movement shall be written, high tribute will be paid to the courageous stand taken by the scientists of this period.

(Introducing Prof. Fairchild)

Sociologists, economists and biologists ↑who↓ have from the beginning ↑have↓ thrown the weight of their influence with this movement. We have with us today many distinguished men and women in various fields of science--from many walks of life--and I have the pleasure to introduce you to one who has for many years lent the prestige of his name, and given of his time and energy to the advancement of this cause ↑work↓ . I am glad to say he will preside over this meeting; he will introduce the speakers, and will summarize the discussion... Professor Henry Pratt Fairchild.

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