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Margaret Sanger, "Philadelphia Woman's Economic Club Speech," 3 Feb 1921.

Source: " Woman Would Kill Starving Children, Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 4, 1921."

The last two paragraphs, which did not relate to Sanger's speech, have been omitted.


"If, instead of contributing $23,000,000 to feed the starving children of Europe, the people of the United States would send over a quantity of chloroform to put them out of their misery, it would be 'the best thing for the children and for the future of the world.'"

This was the startling opinion expressed last night by Mrs. Margaret Sanger, of New York, and enthusiastically applauded by the men and women who attended the dinner given in her honor at the Bellevue-Stratford, under the auspices of the Woman's Economic Club. Mrs. Sanger will speak tonight at the New Century Club on the subject of "Birth Control and the Coming Race."

"The great responsibility for the future of the world," the lecturer declared, "rests upon the shoulders of the women. Diplomats may make treaties of peace, but as long as women continue to breed an explosive population they will transform these agreements into scraps of paper. You cannot reconstruct the world and make a universal peace without reckoning with women."

Mrs. Sanger strongly urged that the women of this country unite to demand the repeal of the Federal and State laws forbidding the dissemination of birth control knowledge, declaring that in this respect Germany and other countries are far ahead.

"We are the only civilized nation in the world," she asserted, "that classes the subject with obscenity and relegates it to the gutter."

Too Much Sentiment in America

“The whole woman’s movement in America,” she continued, “is over-sentimental.”

“The woman of today is exceedingly generous and tender-hearted, but she is inclined toward alleviation of the problems that confront her, rather than prevention and cure. Take, for instance, the matter of the various maternity bills to which she is devoting so much attention at present. Throwing a few pensions to mothers is not going to make a better race; it merely temporarily alleviates conditions. What is really wanted is some action that will strike at the root of the matter, and this can only be done by eliminating the physically and morally unfit from the world.”

“When the world’s population,” she continued, "is decreased to such an extent that those left will be able to develop themselves into the best, we will have a race of supermen and superwomen, and all the problems before us today will be automatically solved. We can never legislate them out of existence, because they are fundamental in society, but when the over-burdened mother is over-burdened no longer, then there will be no economic question, either.”

To Appeal to League of Nations

Mrs. sanger has recently returned from a lecture tour through England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and Austria, where she found people ready to enter into an international movement tending toward the solving of the world's difficulties in this manner. Through her efforts a committee was formed in England which, at the next session of the League of Nations, will put the matter before that body, asking that some definite steps be taken to encourage the decrease of population in the countries that are over-burdened. Among the American-born people, Mrs. Sanger said, this is not necessary, for the birth rate has already taken a tremendius drop, but the influx of foreigners to this country and their steady increase presents the danger that the american race will become extinct unless the balance is restored by a decrease of the foreign population.

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