Margaret Sanger, "Japan," 9 Apr 1954.

Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S72:895."

Sanger likely gave these remarks at one of the meetings she attended in Tokyo to help organize the Japan Planned Parenthood Federation and the Fifth International Conference on Planned Parenthood, to be held there in 1955.For draft version see Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S72:881.


April 9, 1954

Mrs. Margaret Sanger, President, International Planned Parenthood Federation

I have come back (like the spring) to Japan. It is going to be a renewed experience for me to be here in April, for that was the month in 1922 that I first came to your beautiful country, through an invitation of a most distinguished group of intellectuals.

I bring today cordial greetings from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, who have honored me in Stockholm last August by electing me their President. This Federation now consists of 8 ↑9↓ national organizations: United Kingdom - England, Scotland & Wales- Sweden, Holland, Western Germany, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan. Several other national groups are organizing their forces to make application as affiliates.

It is also my pleasure to personally accept the invitation the Japanese Family Planning Federation had extended to the International Planned Parenthood Federation to hold the next conference in this country in 1955! We are grateful for this invitation, and I am here in person, as President, to accept it with our gratitude and respectful thanks.

Your own Committee ↑J F P. assn↓ is expanding its interest through fields and areas and villages with results of much concern to our Federation, for as your original projects succeed in lowering the birth rate in a safe and healthful method, so shall other nations follow your example and apply these methods to their population problems.

The Americas, through spending huge sums on educational work on birth control, have not thus far reached the submerged population to any extent. While we have hundreds of birth control clinics ↑(500)↓ throughout every state in the union, these are not available to thousands of mothers who live on farms, on ranches, and in slums of large cities. Clinics, though well organized as teaching centers, are usually too far away for poor parents to reach and avail themselves of proper scientific instruction given by medical experts in this field. Your project which helps the same group of parents in overcrowded areas by sending into the homes nurses or midwives trained to advise and instruct mothers and fathers personally in the technique of contraception is a far better way to reach those most desperately needing it.

When a mother must resort to abortion in order to keep alive the children already born, it is a proof that she is in a desperate state of mind. She needs help. She needs understanding advice. She should have the best information your medical and welfare departments of your government has available. This should be her right! The decision should be a joint agreement between the father and mother, or husband and wife. There should be nothing put in their way to thwart that decision. Parents want children. They want healthy strong, vital children. Why has such knowledge been kept from the poorest parents, while the well to do, the educated have for generations practiced spacing their children and limiting the numbers the parents could educate and bring up to become adults, helpful to the nation and to our civilization.

Now at last the parents of the lower income brackets have become articulate. They speak for themselves. Their voices are heard around the world. They do not want to be forced to the indignity and necessity of abortion. They call out to the health and welfare ministries for scientific knowledge and information. These departments in your country have bravely answered them and are giving the help in family planning to all. I congratulate you.

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