Margaret Sanger, "Secret Clinics in New York and the Country," 21 Oct 1916.

Source: " Secret Clinics in New York and the Country, Wilkes-Barre Times, Oct 21, 1916, p. 1."


The poor, century-behind-the-times public officials of this country, might just be as well forget their moss grown statutes and accept birth control as an establishment. My new national plan makes it as inevitable as night and day.

The police are hunting my clinic today. They can’t find it. If they should, they can’t hurt it. It is an oral clinic and the law says nothing about not spreading birth control information orally. If they do try to interfere, I’m legally prepared to carry on a hard and bitter fight to the highest tribunal in the land with the best legal talent there is.

Secret Clinics

Four more secret clinics will be running New York within a week. In less than a year there will be clinics in Washington, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Denver, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Spokane, and Butte. They are every one organized and ready to open the minute I say the word. The Washington clinic will open within a few days.

Do the women like it? Say, you ought to go down in the neighborhood we have canvassed with secret circulars the last 48 hours. The women have been coming in by the dozens. You can hear them calling from house to house in the congested districts: “Oh, Mrs. Rosenbaum, you ought to see this, this is something fine.”

Within two years every man and woman in this country will know how many children they can afford to have. And when they know that I predict that two generations of birth control will wipe out all the slums, eliminate the birth of mental defectives, minimize the number of humans in our insane asylums and automatically put a stop to child labor and prostitution.

The Cures Promised

I say it will wipe out child labor, because statistics show that 97 per cent of our child labor is recruited from families too large to be cared for by the parents.

It say it will wipe out the worst of prostitution because statistics prove that 95 per cent of the girls taken from lives of prostitution and placed in industrial homes come from poor parents with nine or more children.

Poverty doesn’t force these girls into prostitution, but the lack of attention they get with so many children at home and the general sordid tone of their lives naturally leads them to such a life.

My friends and myself are going to bring the people of this country to realize that a man making only $15 a week cannot afford to marry, much less have children. And they’ll learn that the average workingman’s family should not exceed two children, even under the most favorite physical conditions.

This is the work the law and public officials are trying to stop.


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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project


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