Margaret Sanger, "Hail and Farewell," June 1937.

Source: " National Birth Control News, June 1937, pp. 3-5 Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Collected Documents Series C16:413."


With the adoption of the Report of its Committee on Contraceptive Practices the American Medical Association, representing organized medicine, takes much needed and long sought for action. The work and wisdom, the belief and support of many thousand men and women are responsible for the great victory we celebrate today, the recognition by the medical profession as a whole of birth control as a necessary part of medical practice.

All who believed in the inherent right, truth and necessity of medically directed birth control played their part and deserve to rejoice in this final triumph. But no moment of retrospect and congratulation would be complete without paying special honor to Dr. Robert L. Dickinson, guiding spirit of the National Committee on Maternal Health, and now its vice-chairman and secretary, who did so much to give birth control professional status and to interpret it to his colleagues; to Dr. Prentiss Willson, chairman of the National Medical Committee on State and Federal Birth Control Legislation, who organized the demand of physicians for a clarification of the law; to Dr. John H. J. Upham, incoming president of the American Medical Association, who has for so many years given his help to our cause; to the late Dr. J. Whitridge Williams, who organized our Medical Advisory Committee; and to Dr. Frederick C. Holden, Dr. Foster Kennedy, Dr. Hannah M. Stone, Dr. Abraham Stone and Dr. Walter Timme.

As I look back on the struggle for medical recognition, waged for more than twenty years, I am fortified in my belief that the highest thing in life is to hold fast to a conviction of what is right in principle. Twenty years ago the birth control movement might have turned into any one of a number of channels. It might have become a free speech cause, an adjunct of political liberalism, a play-toy of advanced philanthropy. But, I do not hesitate to say, my own education as a trained nurse made me see that it was a medical and technical problem, over and above everything else. Through all these years this has been my steadfast policy. I and my co-workers with me have fought for medically directed clinics, for medical support and for medical endorsement and recognition. Time and again members of the profession, even those in high standing, have told us that we could never win. But individual support grew. Organized support grew. And today we can feel that the same principles of right have won.

The action of the American Medical Association strengthens the situation created by the Court Decision clarifying the legality of birth control. The work of the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control is finished. It is done and well done.

At a meeting of the Board of Directors held in New York City in April, the Committee was formally dissolved by the unanimous passage of the following resolution:

WHEREAS the purposes of the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control, Inc. have been accomplished, in the light of the recent decision by the Circuit Court of Appeals,

BE IT RESOLVED that the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control, Inc. be dissolved, and that the proper certificate to effect dissolution be executed as advised by Counsel.

Now comes the future, full of hope and challenge. The impetus of the work is doubly renewed. We can now consolidate the gains we have made, and move steadily forward in a larger program of national and international scope.

All who supported the work of the National Committee should now give their help to a wider program of national education and research. Such a program is being developed under the aegis of our Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau. The legal and medical status of birth control must be publicized, organization support must be enlisted and the public demand for establishing birth control service in all hospitals, welfare and public health units must be mobilized.

It seems fitting at this moment of victory in America to pause and make some survey of the situation on the international front. With this in mind, we have devoted the major portion of this issue to a summary account of “birth control world-wide.” For we are a part, let us remember, of universal movement, which by its human appeal should surmount all barriers of nationality and race.

International birth control and what it can mean for mankind, is a concept to stir the imagination. As comrades in this world union, I greet you with thanksgiving, I call upon you to join with me in the inspiring work which lies before us. Ave atque vale.

Margaret Sanger

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