Margaret Sanger, "Madras Mail Interview," 03 Jan 1936.
Source: " Need For Birth Control Clinics, Madras Mail, Jan. 3, 1936."
Mrs. Margaret Sanger, Chairman of the National Committee on Federal Legislation for birth control, New York, and President of the Birth Control International Information Centre, London, arrived in Madras this morning from Trivandrum, after attending the All-India Women's Conference.
Mrs. Margaret Sanger started the birth control movement 25 years ago and has been responsible for the existence of more than 200 birth control clinics in America.
Interviewed, Mrs. Sanger first gave her impressions of the all-India Women’s Conference at Trivandrum. The proceedings, she said, were conducted in an admirably democratic manner, notwithstanding the absence of some of the leaders of the women’s movement like Mrs. Sarojini Naiduyudu. She paid a tribute to Her Highness Maharani Setu Parvathi Bai, president of the conference, for the manner in which the deliberations were conducted.
“The delegates,” said Mrs. Sanger, “did a very fine piece of work. They had been fully informed of the problem of child marriage, of women in mines, of illiteracy, and of traffic in women and other questions placed before the conference.
“I was much impressed with the fact that only unmarried women opposed the birth control resolution, and most of them were Christian delegates.
“It was very sad to find so many women coming down to have an interview with me,” added Mrs. Sanger, referring to her experiences in India. “Some of them brought their children. They came from distance places, which the consent of the population, who are for adopting birth control methods.”Mrs. Margaret Sanger is staying at the Connemara Hotel and, according to present arrangements, will leave Madras on Jan. 10. She will visit Mysore and Hyderabad, and will attend the first Population Conference at Lucknow on Jan. 27. She will then proceed to Calcutta, where on Jan. 30 she will attend the International Women’s Conference. She proposed to leave India on Feb. 2 for Rangoon. Mrs. Margaret Sanger was the organizer of the first International Population Conference, held at Geneva in 1927.
“I think that the people of India should demand from the medical profession the scientific knowledge which is available in other countries and in medical and scientific societies regarding methods of birth control.”
This remark was made by Mrs. Margaret Sanger (President of the Birth Control International Information Centre) in an address to members of the medical profession this evening at the Museum Theatre. The lecture was illustrated with films.
Mrs. Margaret Sanger said: “My message to the medical profession in India is that it has a wonderful opportunity to avoid the mistakes which have been made by Western countries, where they have rigid laws, as in America, against the dissemination of birth control information. If, through maternity hospitals and other hospitals and Health Week, doctors will provide proper instruction to women as well as men, first for health reasons and next for social and economic reasons, they can help to direct the birth control movement along the proper channel.
“The well-to-do people in all countries have some knowledge, which he poor are denied. But the poor people, the sick and the diseased, should be the first to have it.”
The lecturer then exhibited scientific films on contraception and birth control as known in Western countries.
“One-fifth of the babies born in India,” Mrs. Sanger continued, “die before they reach their fifth year.”
The death rate among infants from the first to the fourth born was not heavy. But there was higher mortality among those born after the fourth up to the seventh. From the seventh to the eleventh the wastage was still more tremendous. Sixty per cent of the twelfth-born children died generally in the first year.
“The average Indian family,” Mrs. Sanger remarked, “could support fairly about three children.”
The lecturer added: “The people should ask municipalities and public health agencies to open birth control clinics, especially for the poor who have not the means to pay for private advice. I would also stress that the young men and women in the medical schools and colleges should be given proper instructions in contraceptive technique.”
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project