Margaret Sanger, "American Birth Control League Meeting Speech Notes," 10 Jan 1924.

Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S70:1060."

Sanger likely used these speech notes when she made the opening address at the Second Annual Meeting of the American Birth Control League, held in New York. Other speakers included Frances B. Ackermann, Anne Kennedy, and Annie Goodrich Porritt


I wonder how many of you here tonight realize just how much ↑ [significance?] ↓ this gathering means is. How many of you realize that this meeting of intelligent representative citizens brought together by an interest in birth means ↑control↓ represents ten years of struggle and effort. Ten years! Ten years of battling against ignorance & prejudice--& a ten year fight ↑for the right↓ to get people to talk & to think about the greatest problems that confront the human race.

For there are few subjects which have so large a practical significance and at the same time cut so deeply into the foundation of social evolution as Birth Control. There are few other questions of equal importance left so long in equal obscurity & yet none perhaps which can show so unequalled a leap in our social vista as birth control has done in so brief a period of time.

↑Ten years ago to utter the words b.c. was a crime.↓ The fundamental reason for such interest are two:

That Civilization is confronted with two serious problems. 1 That of the pressure of population upon the food supply. 2 & That of reconciling Humanitarianism with race improvement.

Many of us believe that birth control is the key to them both.

Mark Twain said: "everybody talks about the weather but no one ever seems to do anything about it"--

Well--the American B.C League is doing something about these problems.

We know that words, theories, sentiment, sympathy are all very well in themselves but we have got to have intelligent thinking put into intelligent action.

If the program for birth control is to grow, to expand, if it is even to hold the ground it has gained through untold sacrifice & seemingly hopeless effort, we must have cooperation courageous, active cooperation of individuals & organizations who believe accept the truth of birth control but do nothing about it. We need more English courage in American ↑intellectual life↓ .

We need the kind of intellectual courage such as Dean Inge, Bernard Shaw, Wells, John Maynard Keynes, Lord Dawson the Kings physician, have shown a personal conviction publicly expressed.

These men have had the courage to express their private convictions, publicly, nor have they lost in the estimation of the British public by doing so--

The ABCL. is calling for the cooperation of the medical profession for scientific research, for investigation for unbiased study.


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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project


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