Margaret Sanger, "Infant Mortality in the Southwest United States," 30 Apr 1942.

Source: ""Here are the Facts," Llano News, Apr. 30, 1942."

This article was published in other newspapers, including the Port Neches Chronicle, May 1, 1942, and the Bronte Enterprise, May 15, 1942.


Labeling the Southwest as "the most dangerous part of the United States in which to be born," Mrs. Margaret Sanger this week appealed to citizens of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas to initiate community programs that will reduce the infant mortality rate in those three states.

"Figures just released by the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor show that while the infant mortality rate for the country as a whole was only 47 per thousand in 1940, the rate for New Mexico was 99.6 per thousand, for Arizona, 84 per thousand, and for Texas, 69 per thousand."

"We who live in the Southwest should be ashamed to have the world know that it is twice to three times as dangerous for a baby to be born here as in Minnesota, Oregon, or Connecticut," Mrs. Sanger declared.

"The shocking thing about the fact that as many as one in ten of our children die at birth or in the first year of life is that half to two-thirds of these deaths could be prevented.

"An increased standard of living, made possible by increased incomes in the agricultural areas of the Southwest will, to some extent, help prevent some of these deaths. Extension of hospital and maternity center services to rural areas and to city slums will also help. Establishment of properly authorized and staffed clinics where mothers may get free information about planning their families is of basic importance."

"There is no question but what the high infant death rate in some sections of the Southwest is due to the fact that the mothers who are least able to bear children have the most. Afflicted with tuberculosis or other disabling diseases, living in overcrowded homes, badly undernourished, they have neither the strength to bear a healthy child nor the means to give it decent care after it is born. Birth control information should be made available to these women, just as it is available to women who can afford to pay for the advice of a private physician," Mrs. Sanger said.

Mrs. Sanger, for many years a winter resident of the Southwest, is honorary chairman of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Recognized as the founder of the birth control movement in the United States, she established the first birth control clinic in the United States twenty-five years ago. She has seen the work grow until there are now 612 birth control centers in the country. Although the movement encountered considerable opposition at the start it now has the support of leading religious, health, medical, and civic organizations. A recent Gallup poll indicated that 77% of the people of the United States favor the spread of birth control knowledge.

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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project