Margaret Sanger, "Chicago Daily News Interview," 25 Apr 1916.
Source: ""Mrs. Sanger Defies Critics; Tells Aims, Chicago Daily News, Apr. 25, 1916, p. 3."
Sanger gave this interview at The Congress Hotel in Chicago after her speech to the Chicago Women's Club was cancelled. For a draft of one of her speeches in Chicago see Chicago Address to Women, Apr-May, 1916
Mrs. Margaret Sanger, pioneer of the "birth control" movement in America, is in Chicago today. Smiling and unperturbed she sat in her room at the Congress hotel and told a reporter for The Daily News the story of the last three years of her life, during which, she asserted, she had been "persecuted" by the United States government and hounded by spies and agents. seeking to obtain information concerning her social and personal activities. Mrs. Sanger says she was denied permission to speak before the Chicago Women's Club, but that she will proceed with her plans to address Chicago audiences at two meetings elsewhere.
"I make no bones of the fact that I have violated that section of the federal law which forbids sending through the mails elleged objectionable matter having to do with birth control" she declared, calmly. "In that connection I should like to emphasize this--that I believe the post office department is overriding its functions in becoming an ethical and moral institution, instead of remaining what it should be--a public servant. I feel that it is becoming a great menace to the liberties of the people.
"My message to Chicago chiefly is this: I am desirous of establishing a free clinic in your stockyards district. Once begun, it would be self-supporting, and that district needs it. Knowledge of birth control is so important that it must be in the hands of the women before even suffrage or any other forward step is taken."
Mrs. Sanger told of her work among girls clubs and elsewhere and of the work of ten large birth control leagues in various cities that are working for a repeal of the federal statute covering the case of Mrs. Sanger's literature.
"These leagues are arousing an interest that is vital," she said. "Understand, this is the only civilized country in the world that makes it a crime to give information about birth control. And do not misunderstand our cause. We do not advocate illegal operations and that sort of thing. Our work is conducted on a high plane; it has the backing in England of such men as H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, Edward Carpenter, Havelock Ellis and Gilbert Murray. They think it is splendid that the two most important forward movements of recent years--birth control and twilight sleep--have had such a welcome in America. Our work is international. We are allied with Leagues in England, Holland and France."
Mrs. Sanger will speak tonight at the West Side auditorium, Taylor street and Racine avenue, and next Sunday evening at the Little theater.
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project