Margaret Sanger, "Episcopal Church Endorsement of Birth Control," 2 Oct 1961.

Source: " Mrs. Sanger Lauds Birth Stand of Episcopalians, Tuscon Daily Citizen, Oct. 2, 1961, p. 56."

Mrs. Sanger Lauds Birth Stand of Episcopalians


Mrs. Sanger, world leader in the birth control movement, today lauded the Episcopal Church for endorsing artificial birth control "when used in Christian conscience."

The Right Rev. Arthur B. Kinsolving, Episcopal bishop of Arizona, just returned from the Detroit convention, said today: "I am four-square behind the convention's endorsement of planned parenthood."

But a Tucson Episcopal minister was not enthusiastic about action taken Thursday at the general convention of Protestant Episcopal Church in Detroit.

The governing committee said family planning was a "right and important factor in Christian family life."

Bishop Kinsolving said: "I started backing Mrs. Sanger's leadership in this crucial problem 30 years ago in Long Island, N.Y. We feel that the church convention's action is a triumph for our nation and for much of the world's congested populations."

Mrs. Sanger said, "This is one of the important steps I've been hoping for. It's the action we expect from an enlightened church."

Contacted at her home, 65 Sierra Vista, Mrs. Sanger said, "This is the way we expect a church of intelligence and responsibility to act. Naturally, I am very pleased."

"The importance to the nation and the world by the Episcopal Church's action can't be underestimated. I am especially glad to see that the church's convention goes on record to recommend government assistance (on birth control information) when it is officially sought by other nations."

"This is the action we need," Mrs. Sanger added. "When India asked the U.S. for information on birth control, former President Eisenhower wouldn't touch it. He was wrong. Public education of all kinds, especially in this crucial matter, is certainly a part of our government's responsibility."

The Very Reverend John Clinton Fowler, of St. Michael's & All Angels Episcopal Church, said he is "less than enthusiastic about birth control action taken at the Detroit convention."

"I wish the declaration hadn't been made," he said. "The artificial prevention of birth is a theological matter and ought to be decided by moral theologians. It certainly shouldn't be decided by a majority vote of lay and clerical representatives to a convention.

"It is my opinion," Father Fowler said, "that the conscience of Christian people need not necessarily be guided by this decision of the general convention of the Episcopal Church."

The Rev. George Ferguson, minister of St. Philip's in the Hills Church, said he had not comments on the convention's action. But he pointed out that the birth control endorsement reaffirms earlier endorsements of birth control by the Anglican Church of England, the U.S. Episcopal Church's parent church.

The birth control pronouncement was one of the last official actions of the week-long Episcopal convention in Detroit.

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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project