Margaret Sanger, "El Paso Herald Post Interview," 4 Dec 1934.

Source: " Sterilization Laws Are Emergency War Measures, Mrs. Sanger Says, El Paso Herald, Dec. 4, 1934, p. 6 ."

Sanger gave an interview at the Hotel Hussman in El Paso, she also spoke at a luncheon there to forty doctors; that speech was not found.

Sterilization Laws Are Emergency War Measures, Mrs. Sanger Says

The sterilization law is an absolute emergency war measure against conditions which we have no other way to fight, believes Mrs. Margaret Sanger, who will be known in history as the first woman to fight fearlessly and intelligently for birth control. She is a guest at the Hotel Hussman today en route to Tucson with her son.

A feminine, attractive woman with wavy reddish blonde hair combed back from her face, she sat over her breakfast coffee in a pink negligee, looking the antithesis of the militant person who she says people invariably expect her to be.

“I think California has the best law on sterilization and one that has been working over a period of five years,” she said. “It is one that can be followed with the greatest security for anyone who has fears of being taken advantage of. It goes hand in hand with an educational campaign for those who should be and are to be sterilized. Results are that there are more demands in California for sterilization by persons who are made to realize the benefit and why they should be, than can be met.

Future Debt

“We have long substituted philanthropy and charity for recognition of evil to society. Now the demand for more and more charity has increased incompetency and piled up staggering debt future generations will have to pay, because of our short-sightedness in not following up laws which have been passed.”

The evil from parole of incompetents from prisons and institutions is another question which people should take a stand against, Mrs. Sanger believes.

“In most cases the officials are glad to get the inmates out of prisons or institutions, when the disease has been abated. Generally, those persons leave a child at home,” she said. “The institution takes no precaution against the increase of those persons’ progeny.

“Sterilization is the only way to protect society from persons who have not the moral responsibility to practice birth control.”

The knowledge of sterilization has made a great change in the acceptance of it, Mrs. Sanger maintains.

“It used to be thought the operation injured the individual. It is known now that the operation is a minor one with the man and though a larger one with the woman does not in any way affect the vital functions,” she said.

Mrs. Sanger is not writing anything at present but she will delve into a phase at some future time which is occupying the minds of many thinking people--the question: Do the boys ang girls of high school age today know more about birth control than their mothers and fathers know now, or knew when they were of high school age?


“Certainly, they know more than their grandparents knew,” she said. “But whether promiscuity and birth control are practiced generally among young people is a debatable one,” she said. “I believe when we find such conditions in one locality we are inclined to put the stamp on the country as a whole. I think when young people may have a smattering of knowledge and act and talk wisely, we jump to conclusions in assuming they know more than they do.

“However, there are certain young girls in circles of the so-called better families who are accepted with the others today, whereas yesterday they ran in ‘separate herds’ and were known as ‘hussies’.”

An encouraging phase in the matter of birth control education is the general information that is "learned in the study of science and hygiene in schools today,” Mrs. Sanger believes.

“You can’t teach boys and girls the danger of social diseases without giving a general idea of the ways to combat it,” she said.

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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project