Margaret Sanger, "El Paso Speech on Opening a Birth Control Clinic ," 24 Feb 1937.

Source: " 350 El Pasoans Meet To Hear Mrs. Sanger On Birth Control. El Paso Times Feb. 25, 1937, pp. 1-2."

Sanger spoke at the Hotel Paso del Norte, after the original meeting location, the Hotel Hilton, backed out. For a statement on the rhythm method she gave before her speech, see Statement on the Rhythm Method, Feb. 24, 1937.


350 El Pasoans Meet To Hear Mrs. Sanger On Birth Control

Mrs. Sanger said it would cost $1500 a year to operate a clinic in El Paso. Support of El Paso clinics is favored through memberships in the local committee. A small fee will be charged patients unless it is known that the patient has no funds.

Ask Doctors To Help.

A committee of physicians will be asked to work at the clinics, which Mrs. Sanger hopes will be established on El Paso’s north and south side. Clinic equipments costs little, and supplies are furnished by the demonstration clinic of the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, she said.

“El Paso people are the first in the United States to take advantage of the December 7, United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that physicians might send contraceptives by mail--an act considered hitherto illegal,” Mrs. Sanger said.

“Birth Control is conscious means of control that prevents the conception of life, and people who say ‘murderer or killer,’ are wrong. One cannot kill what has not yet lived. Now doctors need not fear a $500 fine, or five years in the penitentiary for administering a simple, scientific preventive to a woman who is not able to bear a child.”

Sees Finer Type.

“Birth control is old, but methods are new, and because of this, the key note of a new social era, a sound era, that will advance the spiritual welfare of the people is born. Birth control will mean a new and finer type of human race.”

Mrs. Sanger declared that many types who are diseased and brutal are not fit to be parents.

“I would like to live to see the day,” she said “when parents will be made to apply for a child or children. When the parents, in ill health, and possessing sordid or moronic characteristics stood before the child, many a youngster would say, no thank you, I will wait for the next applicant."

“The advance of Christianity, of charity, or humanitarianism, will not allow the natural order of nature to function, to dispose of the feeble-minded, the diseased, the insane, the old as it should. Though it may sound cruel to say they should die, if they live they will, in the majority of cases, reproduce their kind, which is to throw upon the social order of the world certain types who are illiterate, deformed, and diseased, from birth."

“You build palatial palaces to keep them alive, while you are taxed to provide the means. A survey shows in one state that each person is highly taxed for every inmate in the state’s insane asylum. At various times these charges are allowed to go home on parole, to reproduce their kind, and I think that every official in every state and city heading an insane asylum should bear the greater part of the responsibility of such an act.”

Mentions Four Children.

“The average man cannot take care of more than four children, and after that it is someone else who must bear the burden. We must get to the source of the fault. The externals are not enough. Do not think that because the Child Labor Laws have been recognized that child labor will be abolished. It will exist as long as certain types are reproduced.”

Mrs. Sanger submitted seven reasons for birth control. They were: Transmissible disease of parents; women suffering with temporary ailments should be informed; parents that seem normal, but have children that are sub-normal in any respect, should not be allowed to reproduce more of this type; there should be a three-year spacing of children, so that the mother might recover from the birth, a year to enjoy the newcomer, and another year to prepare spiritually and mentally for the next baby should she want another; and, although “I strongly favor young marriages, I do not believe that children should be born during adolescence.”

Urges Get Acquainted.

“Young marriages are wonderful, but babies should not be born during these years, as neither the boy nor the girl is yet mature enough. Let them have a year or two for happiness and getting acquainted with each other, and working and studying together,” she continued. Early marriages do away with illicit relations and immorality among the youth of today."

“Do not be afraid of the word sterilization,” she said. “It will figure largely in the future and is a thing that is needed for many types."

“Birth control in 20 years will build a new and constructive civilization. It does not decrease the population, but provides the country with intelligent, cultured, educated persons.”

Mrs. Sanger said it is inevitable that within the coming five to 10 years, because of overcrowded population in Germany, Italy and Japan, the face of the world will be changed. When too many people inhabit a section of the world, war cannot be avoided.

Mrs. Sanger will lecture and show a special film at a meeting for all El Paso doctors Thursday at 8 p.m. in the West Room of Hotel Paso del Norte.

The Birth Control Clinic Committee will meet Thursday at 10 a.m. at Hotel Paso del Norte.


Subject Terms:

Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project


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