Margaret Sanger, "Impressions of the Amsterdam Conference," Nov 1921.

Source: " Birth Control Review Nov. 1921, p. 11 Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S70:922."


Impressions of the Amsterdam Conference

By Margaret Sanger

The first great truth that I bring home from the international congress on contraceptives, held in Amsterdam August 29-30, is this: that our movement in the theoretical aspects is far in advance of the practical phase. There was unanimous agreement upon principles,--upon the economic, the social and the hygienic, the political and international necessity for Birth Control. But the practical methods and devices offered by the various delegates from practically every country in Europe were new and untried by other delegates, and questioned by them. Each country offered its individual method which was unknown to the rest of the delegates.

One of the most instructive and enlightening phases of the conference was the opportunity it offered to delegates to visit the clinics, where demonstrations of the various methods were given under the auspices of the Dutch League and proved of practical values. They vindicate our claim for clinics in all countries.

The conference took place in the Hotel Hollandia, in Amsterdam, on Aug. 29th and 30th, and was attended by Dr. and Mrs. Drysdale and Dr. Haire (England), Mme. de Beer-Meijers, Mynheer and Mme. Kiersch de Jung, Mr. de Vries, Mr. S. Ten Cate and Dr. Risselada (Holland), and Dr. E. Goldstein (Germany). Mr. G. Hardy (France, treasurer of the Bureau, and Dr. Rutgers (late hon. sec.), wrote expressing regret at being unable to come, and others were prevented from doing so by various engagements.

A very useful and full discussion on all the best known preventive devices took place, and decisions were arrived at concerning the most effective devices and the technique connected with them. Demonstrations were kindly given by Mme. Kiersch de Jung and Mme. van Huevel, two of the ladies trained by Dr. Rutgers and on the Dutch League's list of helpers, to the medical and lady members of the conference on the fitting of certain preventive devices. A cordial vote of thanks was accorded to Mme. de Beer-Meijers at the conclusion of the conference, for her greatly appreciated arrangements, and it was decided that a full International Neo-Malthusian Congress should be held in the last week of August in next year.

The following resolution was unanimously passed at the conference, at the instance of M. G. Hardy:

This conference of the International Neo-Malthusian Bureau of Correspondence and Defence wishes to register a strong protest against the laws and measures repressing neo-Malthusian or Birth Control propaganda which have existed or recently been enacted in various countries, and against the prosecutions which have been instituted against such propagandists. It wishes to point out that such propaganda, provided that it is carried out with due regard to public decency and on eugenic lines, is of the utmost value to every nation as a means of reducing poverty and social unrest, and of improving the quality and viability of the race.

It was felt that the conclusions arrived at would be of great service in the preparation of practical handbooks or leaflets, but that several points needed further study and settlement, and various members undertook to obtain information on these points with the view of bringing them before a committee on contraceptive devices, which it was decided should meet at the time of the International Congress.


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