Margaret Sanger, "Contraception," 3 Jan 1936.
Source: " Dissemination of Knowledge, Madras Mail, Jan. 3, 1936 ."
Sanger spoke to the first All-India Obstetrics and Gynaecological Congress at the Museum Theater in Madras, India. The speech was not found, but a summary was published in the press.
“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 Theater. 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 the 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 instruction in contraceptive technique.”
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project