Margaret Sanger, "Editorial," May 1918.

Source: " Birth Control Review, May 1918, ."

This unsigned editorial may have been written by Margaret Sanger.


A CONSERVATIVE FRIEND who has often relieved my "neediest cases" with clothing, medical attention or cash, took me to task for endorsing birth control.

"Why do you have anything to do with the dangerous doctrine?" she inquired.

"Because of these letters" And I handed her a sheaf of them. She was quite shaken by the reading.

"It's shocking," she murmured with a shudder. "Such Ignorance is appalling. These women do not know how to protect themselves. What sort of doctors do they have?"

"Doctors who do not believe in birth control," I retorted.

"Neither does mine, but--"

"He does not endorse it--he merely supplies it to patients who can afford to pay for it-patients like you--"

Her eyes flashed.

"Are you suggesting that Dr. Blank would perform a criminal operation?"

I could hardly believe my ears. This woman of intelligence, leader in club, civic and war relief work, did not know the difference between criminal abortion and birth control. And then I realized as I have often realized it before, that the enemies of physical emancipation for women deliberately, maliciously, confuse the two terms. This woman whose strength and beauty had been conserved for years by contraceptives has been fighting the movement to grant the same protection and privilege to her less fortunate sisters because her physician has misled her, intentionally or otherwise.

We will never have voluntary motherhood until we tear away the [veil?] of hypocrisy and misrepresentation by which physicians hide the truth from their patients, and especially the smugness of those medical men who inform their overburdened patients that there are no safe and sure contraceptives, while they protect their own wives and, incidentally, their own bank accounts by practising birth control in their private lives. These are the worst offenders against the health and the freedom of American women.

Birth Control Leagues have been formed in many localities and then allowed to languish or die. But the day is coming when they will be supported by the very women who once drew back their skirts. War is a great awakener of women. It stirs their souls and opens their eyes to the futility and emptiness of traditions. Haphazard, unregulated child-bearing as woman's world-duty is a dying tradition.


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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project


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