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Margaret Sanger, "Responsibility of Parenthood," Nov 1935.

Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S71:773."

The title was taken from promotional documents. The last page(s) may be missing.


The question of population has recently been receiving national and international consideration by specialists in the various fields--of biology, sociology, economics, psychology, demography etc All isolated & remote from those who produce population--the parents. & particularly the mother.

While these specialists are gravely alarmed over special aspects of the falling birth rates in certain circles, they fail to consider the facts which the parents of today are bound to consider in taking up the responsibility of parenthood.

1st the possible inheritances of the child 2nd its needs of the future.

There has been a great psychological change which has taken place in the lives of millions of parents & parents to be. Instead of allowing chance to dictate & manage their lives, they apply intelligence, knowledge, Science & bring children consciously into being by choice.

In this way they give consideration to the health of the mother; the health & future possibilities of the child. The earning powers & ambitions of the father.

In fact responsibility toward children & the desire of parents to give the best in life to their offspring.

Also the desire of parents to prolong their own usefulness to society to their professions; to prolong the age of learning--to advance their cultural & educational possibilities & to enjoy their adult & mature life to the best of their ideals.

These are the factors that underlie the falling birth rates in the Western Countries.

The time has come to dispute & challenge those who would encourage numbers & the increase of population regardless of the personal factors of responsibility & health.

Men & women are not mere statistical units who are born, marry produce their kind & die.

We must regard their personal contribution as of value, the quality of material with which they are endowed thru inheritance as of infinitely more value to society & the race than numbers. It is to this quality that we must now turn ↑direct↓ our attention if civilization is to endure or advance.

In the past reproduction has been left to chance now man may thru science choose whether he will become a god or fall back into barbarism.

Education of the masses does not mean that ↑it↓ is the transmission of the best racial qualities in our population.

The type of mind of the unskilled laborer the manual worker belongs to the past. These classes have served their purpose & reached the limit of their usefulness Their need in society is greatly reduced by invention & machinery--today & will be more limited in the near future by Chemistry & physics & the possession of unlimited sources of heat & Energy at a [minimum?] of expenditure. Instead of manual laborers we shall need brains highly resistant to work & capable of a degree of instruction which surpasses that of the most intelligent of our skilled workers today. Consequently it is a crime against the future civilization & generations to encourage the reproduction of mediocre, diseased, or inferior groups who shall become a burden to the future & retard the progress of civilization.

There must be a Scientific ↑Study↓ of Population in each Country & this shall point the way for legislation to deliver society from the burdens now heaped upon it by eliminating the reproduction of dysgenic [stock?] .

Tuberculosis--of ↑from↓ which a large part of the population is suffering.

99 out of 100 cases it was found that the patient could not afford a tolerable course of treatment & rest.

This is distinctly a disease of poor nutrition & bad housing & overcrowding.

The father can not absent himself from work long enough to get properly cured. The mother has to get up earlier from her convalescence to attend to the needs of her husband & her children.

The children that are ↑is↓ ill needs the full vigor & vitality of the mother for its care & treatment. Thus the condition of a pregnant mother enfeebles her & often prevents the cure of the infant.

It is absolutely impossible to afford the care & treatment of disease so the only possible solution is to prevent the cause of disease--also to prevent the conception of more children in the family than the income will provide decently for.

To bring a baby into the world costs more today than at any time in our history.

Children ↑today↓ are a luxury. It costs more to feed, clothe & educate his children according to present day standards than it cost for ↑a family of↓ six twenty five years ago--! Children must be properly fed--properly clothed-- They themselves have standards set up by their associates--

There must be more schooling laws require longer periods in schools. They can not go to work & be self supporting as early as was allowed a generation ago.

On top of all the expenses the parents must meet for their own children they must pay in the form of taxes for the hordes of children whose fathers can not provide for--Taxes have gone up to pay for those on relief-- Those who are unemployed-- Those who are sick & unfit & can not compete in the struggle for existence. The financial burdens The government has placed upon the ↑bent↓ backs of the tired & discouraged fathers of small families, will continue to grow heavier unless Something is done to decrease the birth rate of the unfit. It is now legally possible for our country & State health authorities to see to it that parents who can not provide for two children should be advised not to have ten! And given the information & means to prevent that catastrophe, [at least one page missing]

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