Margaret Sanger, "Moratorium on Babies," 30 June 194701 July 1947.

Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Smith College Margaret Sanger Microfilm Smith College Collections S77:49 10 year Moratorium on Europe Babies Urged, New York Daily News, July 1, 1947 Mrs. Sanger's Plan Opposed by Britons, New York Times, July 14, 1947 American Birth Control Pioneer Stirs British Anger, Evening Independent, July 2, 1947 London Condemns No-Baby Plan of Margaret Sanger, Neosho Daily-News, July 2, 1947, p. 4. 10-Year Holiday On Babies Urged for Hungry Countries, Anniston Star, July 2, 1947, p. 1."

No complete version of Sanger's statements to the press on leaving for England have been found. The story was reported in newspapers in both the United States and England, with different portions of the statement featured in different papers. Sanger's handwritten statement was likely written while en route to London. Other quotes were taken from newspaper coverage. Duplicated portions of the articles were omitted by the editors.


My message to the parents of the children in starving countries is to declare a Moratorium on the birth rate for the next ten years. Why ten years? I am asked. Because it is going to take from six to ten years for the world to get settled again and the conditions of poverty misery hunger and strife which exist in the world today are not the conditions in which to have and rear happy and healthy children.

Women in war torn countries write me that they are giving birth to death not to life. To bring children into these conditions is not kind nor fair to those already born and to those unborn. So again I say to hungry mothers and fathers-declare the Moratorium on the birth rate, with which we can make a better world.

10 year Moratorium on Europe Babies Urged

A 10-year moratorium on babies in the world’s hungry countries was urged yesterday by Mrs. Margaret Sanger Slee, noted advocate of planned parenthood, as she left LaGuardia Field for a family planning conference in England. "Those countries should not have another child for a decade," she said. "They should do all in their power to help keep women from having children for that period-until the food and economic situations are adjusted there.

She said her plan “definitely” includes England.

"I think the adults who are living today could be moved into those countries where they need labor,"she continued. "Use the manpower that’s there today, and don’t bring any more children into the world to starve."

Somebody asked who would fight the wars, and Mrs. Slee replied, "At least there would be fewer people to be battered to death."

Mrs. Slee left on the American Overseas Flagship Eire.

She said that while abroad she also will work on arrangements for an international population conference to be held in Oxfordnext year. This will deal with the problem of populations in relation to the food supplies and natural resources of countries. She said all overpopulated countries, including India, China, and Japan, would be invited to send representatives.

"In this country we have achieved a favorable balance of population and resources,she stated. "This situation has contributed greatly to the raising of our national standard of living."

"But it will do us little good if in the end European and Asiatic countries, and some of our possessions, continue to overflow their boundaries, crowd their resources and breed themselves into new famines. Many of them will ultimately breed themselves into another war. For these reasons the whole world should be interested in intelligent limitations of populations."

Mrs. Sanger's Plan Opposed by Britons

"I suppose my ideas will upset all my friends, Mrs. Sanger said. "Unsound? Not a bit of it. There is pretty heavy overcrowding in Britain. Adults could be moved to other countries instead of having babies here while food is short."

American Birth Control Pioneer Stirs British Anger

It all started when gray-haired little Mrs. Sanger stepped off a plane and told the press: "It’s pretty certain that the world won’t be able to produce enough food to support any more babies for at least 10 years."So, she said, women should stop having babies for 10 years--in Britain, especially. She wanted the United Nations to recommend baby quotas for all countries.

10-Year Holiday On Babies Urged for Hungry Countries

Margaret Sanger, prominent advocate of planned parenthood, proposed today that the United Nations sponsor a 10-year moratorium on babies in the world's hungry countries.

It would be much better for women who already had children to be able to feed them adequately than to bring them into a world of "living death,"she said.

Miss Sanger, a native of Corning, N. Y., came to England this week to organize an international conference on population and family problems next year.

The United Nations should call off the dogs and not encourage people to have children,"she said. "It's a fallacy to strive for a population goal beyond the earth's capacity. You can call it birth control, contraception, or spacing. It's all the same. . . there are thousands of mothers in the world who are starving yet they continue to have children."

Miss Sanger said such a moratorium would be a job for the medical authorities and the United Nations.

"The United Nations has a very large department which is interested in public and world health," she said.

She said the Catholic church was "the greatest obstacle to such a proposal because of its diametric opposition to birth control."

"If we went 10 years without children we would have fewer with malnutrition and more with a semblance of adjustment,"Miss Sanger added. "You don't want to be swamped with babies while this uncertainty regarding the future with no homes and certain malnutrition exists."

"I would like to know what mothers in England think of my plan," she said. "I am prepared for attacks on it."


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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project


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