Margaret Sanger, "The Unmarried Girl," no date.

Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S73:254."


1. Is she entitled to knowledge? Just as we admit that the conditions around the married woman entitle her to knowledge so must we analyze the unmarried girl.

There are three kinds of girls who go wrong:

1. The innocent, ignorant girl who puts her trust and faith in the man and finds herself a mother. 2. The ignorant girl who thinks by giving herself to the man she likes will thereby hold him or get him to marry her. 3. The ignorant girl classes as moron with full physical sex development, but mental growth not above ↑a↓ child of nine or ten years; no moral standard, no control, no modesty; just goes with the man who asks her and takes what she gets, money or good time.

1. In the first case, this innocent girl should be as protected by society as the mother who suffers with tuberculosis, heart disease, or any other ailment of sickness which renders her weak against the consequences of pregnancy.

So should innocence and ignorance be regarded. Society should protect the innocent and ignorant, as it protects the diseased by giving all knowledge to protect themselves against attacks. Should this weak girl be made to endure the “slings of outrageous fortune” because of her innocence? Is this punishment justifiable, and is this the attitude that society takes with other examples of crime by innocence?

2. This girl a little wiser and more knowing than her sister leans a bitter lesson, and could learn it just as well by not going through the bitter experience of motherhood. Such men are plentiful and girls are learning by examples that without love and tenderness there is no bond. This is the girl who aborts, and the man is more helpful in obtaining this release than he is when marriage and motherhood are suggested.

Think of the innocent child in both cases and the effect of the mind of the mother upon its nine months’ journey to birth.

3. This type of girl is our national and social problem. She may be promiscuous, but is bright enough to escape jails or institutions. She is everywhere, in every walk of life--in all classes. When married, she is three times as prolific as the normal woman. While her illicit relations do harm only to herself or the man in question, should she be permitted to bear children?


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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project


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