Margaret Sanger, "S.S. Corfu Interview," 19 Feb 1936.

Source: " Birth Control: World Advocate Now in Hong Kong, South China Morning Post, Feb. 19, 1936."

Sanger was interviewed on board the S.S. Corfu en route to Hong Kong. The interview was also published in the Hongkong Telegraph on the same date.


In an interview with a representative of the S.C.M. Post, Mrs. Sanger said she was going back to the United States, after a tour of India, via China and Japan. She was invited by the All-India Women's Conference to address that great body when it met in Travancore in December last and to conduct a campaign for birth control throughout the country. At the Conference a resolution was passed in favour of birth control by a vote of 85 for and 25 against. “I went to India not to persuade everybody to have a small family. I wanted rather to convince them of the desirability- for themselves and posterity--of having families of the right size and right quality. We all agree that healthy parents of good stock, and with an income that will support several children, should have them; and if they have normal instincts, will want to have them,” said Mrs. Sanger.

Not Unknown to India

“The practice of birth control is not unknown to India. But there, as in countries like England and America, it is still highly concentrated among the economically most prosperous and the educationally best endowed classes. So in my campaign I did not introduce into India views and a practice which did not, to some small extent, exist there already; but I hope I have produced a better distribution of birth control practices, that is to say to disseminate it among the social, economic and biological classes in which it is most urgently needed. “In my campaign in India I tried to show that the maternity and infant mortality rates in that country were a direct consequence of the present birth rates; that if we waned to lower the former we must lower the latter. I tried to show too that the low expectation of life in India was a consequence of the high birth rate, and could be raised by bringing that rate down. Above all it was my purpose to convince the Indian people that between the practice of birth control and their highest conception of ethics and religion there was no inconsistency whatsoever. “I consider that I had an overwhelming success in India, having delivered more than 65 addresses and traveling over 10,000 miles. I met most of the prominent men and women and was most cordially received by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Tagore, both of whom I visited for some days. Both of these great men agree that there must be some regulation of the family, especially among working people whose economic standard is low and whose earning power is insufficient to take care of a large family,” she added.

Visit to China

“China has the same problem as India and other countries with thick populations--to high a death rate and too rapid a growth in population,” she said. “A country can stand a good-sized population if it doesn’t grow too rapidly.” The establishment of clinics apart from hospitals, according to Mrs. Sanger, was most essential. “Thousands of women will go for social and economic reasons to clinics when they will not go to hospitals. They will go to hospitals only for sickness and disease. Outside clinics will take care of a large part of the population and save them from being sick.”

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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project