Margaret Sanger, "Phoenix Mothers Health Clinic Speech," 19 Feb 1940.
Source: " Fight on Larger Battleground Forecast by Margaret Sanger, Arizona Republic, Feb. 20, 1940."
The fight of the National Birth Control Federation now has won as much as it can win while supported only by individual capital; therefore it is beginning a campaign to establish birth control as a part of the public health setup of counties and states throughout the nation, Margaret Sanger declared in a speech to approximately 100 Phoenix women yesterday afternoon.
Much important work has been done in the past years and is being done by the federation, Mrs. Sanger said.
Any doctor in the country, she declared, now may furnish his patients with contraceptive information; he may send such information through the mails; he may receive through the mails books and supplies, so that “there is perfect freedom for the medical profession which we, as laymen, got for them.”
Much, however, also remains to be done, in the opinion of Mrs. Sanger. The speaker told her audience that conditions of poverty and disease almost too shocking to believe exist in the Southwest and throughout the South; that the “low level of life in the midst of this rich country” is made worse because “children keep coming” regardless of whether the parents are able to support them.
She pointed out that, while many states have laws decreeing a certain amount of pasture land per head of cattle to make sure the land is not over-grazed--no provision is made to ensure enough food per human being; that while the government makes efforts to see that no cattle are bred from diseased stock-frequently the most children are born from diseased and undernourished human beings.
“The greatest interest and encouragement we have met,” Mrs. Sanger said, was in camps of low-wage migratory workers, where nurses have been sent recently to distribute contraceptive information, although most previous education of this kind was done in city slums. In these camps, she said, approximately 55,000 women have received such information.
Birth control, Mrs. Sanger continued, is beginning to reach the strata of life “where it should have been taught 20 years ago.”
“We feel we have won out in a legislative way,” the speaker continued. “We have guided the movement in the direction of better public health; but it needs to go farther.”
“Large areas of eroded land,” she said, have alarmed the government over lack of resources, and “it looks as though the coming census will reveal the United States as overpopulated, amazing as this may seem.” Overpopulation, she explained, means that the country will not be able to support itself with its own resources. This is a problem she continued, which has troubled the Old World for many years.
Mrs. Sanger expressed her belief that the current condition in Europe is the result of “the breeding of generations past.”
“We have been seeing for 10 years that Germany, Italy and Japan were the three danger spots,” she said; “now this is proving correct; and they will continue to be danger spots until some of these problems are talked about and settled intelligently. The problem of population can be solved.
“I believe that birth control--which is control, not interference with life, not destruction--means the ruling of intelligence. The source of a great number of troubles today is that intelligence is not allowed to rule.”
Birth control, according to Mrs. Sanger, “does not take the place of other philanthropic and beneficial movements today, but it must come first. It is the foundation.”
The world, she declared, “cannot exist peacefully until population is controlled; when that is achieved we can begin to have peace on earth, good will toward men- and spread that message over the face of the earth.”
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project