Margaret Sanger, "Brownsville Clinic Interview," 22 Oct 1916.
Source: " Spread Birth Control, Washington Post, Oct. 22, 1916."
Sanger was interviewed in a New York hotel a few days after the New York City Police raided the Brownsville clinic. This interview was published in multiple newspapers, including: "Mrs. Sanger Says Moss Is Growing in the Birth Law," in Wilkes-Barre Times, Oct. 21, 1916, p. 1.
"The poor, century-behind-the-times public officials of this country might just as well forget their moss-grown statutes and accept birth control as an established fact. My new national plan makes it as inevitable as night and day."
Mrs. Margaret Sanger, short and smiling, with a tinge of red in her hair and more than that in her eye, sat in her little two-by-four hotel bedroom and said that here today. Within the last 48 hours she has established semi-secretly in this city the first out-and-out birth control clinic in the United States, the law, a Federal indictment and numerous arrests all over the country to the contrary notwithstanding.
"The police are hunting my clinic today," she went on. "They can't find it. If they should, they can't hurt it. It is an oral clinic, and the law says nothing about not spreading birth control information orally. If they do try to interfere I am legally prepared to carry a hard and bitter fight to the highest tribunal in the land with the best legal talent there is."
"Four more secret clinics will be running in New York within a week. In less than a year there will be clinics in Washington, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Denver, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Spokane and Butte. They are every one organized and ready to open the minute I say the word. The Washington clinic will open within a few days."
"Do the women like it? Say, you ought to go down in the neighborhood we have canvassed with secret circulars in the last 48 hours. The women have been coming in by the dozens. You can hear them calling from house to house in the congested districts: 'Oh, Mrs. Rosenbaum, you ought to see this, this is something fine.'"
"Within two years every man and woman in this country will know how many children they can afford to have. And when they know that, I predict that two generations of birth control will wipe out all the slums, eliminate the birth of mental defectives, minimize the number of humans in insane asylums and automatically put a stop to child labor and prostitution."
"I say it will wipe out child labor because statistics show that 97 per cent of our child labor is recruited from families that are too large to be cared for by the parents."
"I say it will wipe out the worst of prostitution, because statistics prove that 95 per cent of the girls taken from lives of prostitution and placed in industrial homes come from poor parents with nine or more children."
"Poverty doesn't force these girls into prostituion, but the lack of attention they get, with so many children at home, and the general sordid tone of their lives, naturally leads them to such a life."
"My friends and myself are going to bring the people of this country to realize that a man making only $15 a week cannot afford to marry, much less have children. And they'll learn that the average workingman's family should not exceed two children, even under the most favorable physical conditions."
"This is the work the law and public officials are trying to stop. The poor, blind officials really are not to blame. They don't live along in every-day life: they simply live in their law books: and as the law is a century behind the times, so are the officials."
Confirmation of Mrs. Margaret Sanger's announcement that Washington is soon to have a birth control clinic was made yesterday by officers of the Washington Birth Control League. But it will differ, they say, from that Mrs. Sanger has in operation in New York, in that it will not be secret. Announcement will be made of the time and place through the newspapers.
So long as they do not circulate printed matter, the officer said, they will be within the law. And they are conducting a fight for the repeal of the "laws which put this country about a century behind the time."
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project