Margaret Sanger, "Planned Parenthood," 31 Jan 1927.
Source: " Birth Control Advocate Cites Appalling Increase in Unfits; Urges Scientific Plan Adoption, Fitchburg Sentinel, Feb. 1, 1937, p. 1."
Sanger's speech was not found; newspaper coverage has been used in its place.
"The adoption of a scientific plan for birth control is civilization's only hope of surviving the appalling results of civilization's interference with nature's plan for the elimination of the unfit," declared Margaret Sanger, foremost advocate of birth control, before a record breaking audience at the Community forum in the First Universalist church Sunday afternoon.
Long before the time scheduled for Sanger's talk, every seat in the auditorium was taken. All available chairs and extra seats were pressed into use and standing room was at a premium when the famous advocate of planned parenthood was presented to the audience by Rev. Max. A. Kapp. Selection by a piano, violin and cello trio and songs by the Aeolian male quartet of Leominster preceded the lecture and were well received.
In her opening remarks Mrs. Sanger warmly congratulated the people of Fitchburg for maintaining and supporting the public forum.
"There never has been a time in our history when it has been to necessary for our people to gather and discuss problems which confront our civilization. No place offers a better opportunity for such discussion than the public forum," she said.
Referring to the title of her address, "Planned Parenthood," Mrs. Sanger contended that no subject of equal importance had been left so long in obscurity and none had gained such wide discussion in the past 10 years.
"Birth control--conscious control of the birth rate by means that prevent conception of life--is the keynote of a new social and moral awakening," Mrs. Sanger averred. "A birth rate consciously controlled is all that separates us from the animals," she added.
Mrs. Sanger contended that "there always was a control of the birth rate until civilization upset the balance. Disease, pestilence, floods, disasters and wars did the work in the past ages. In the past, nature was the controlling force that brought us down to our present civilization through the test of the survival of the fittest.
"The charity and philanthropy of our civilization have saved and nurtured the unfit that nature would have eliminated. We have made it possible for these to live and propagate and we now find that they are increasing much faster than the fit and intelligent types.
"At the present time one-third of the fit are employed in taking care of these incompetents who contribute nothing to society. The billions spent in caring for these millions of incompetents is placing an appalling burden on the shoulders of tax payers.
"If the senseless saving of the unfit for the propagation of increasingly more unfit and unemployable is to continue then we had better at once change the places with those in the institutions for the insane and feeble-minded and let them out to run the country.
"We have made no intelligent effort to control this appalling increase in the unfit and unemployables and to lessen the burden upon the fit chiefly because of fear of theology and of dogmas of the middle ages trying to regulate our lives today," she said.
The speaker declared that America has the highest maternal death rate of any country and is the only one having laws barring contraceptive appliances. "We cannot hope to lower this death rate until it is possible for the mother to get the best possible advice on contraceptive methods and clinics under the direction of the public health departments, the place where it should be available," she said.
The speaker gave seven cardinal reasons for birth control and listed them as follows: Transmissible diseases, diseases not transmissible but incapacitating the mother; sub-normal children, due to a strain in one parent or the other; spacing of children to permit the mother to maintain her health; adolescent parents and lastly the desirability that parents should be given at least two years in which to become spiritually acquainted before assuming the problems and duties of parenthood. She declared there can be no spiritual union between husband and wife until the fear of pregnancy is abolished.
There are only three possible controls of population, Mrs. Sanger contended. The death rate may be increased or the birth rate may be controlled. The third is the emigration of a part of the population. With the latter eliminated there remains only the choice of an increased death rate or a controlled birth rate.
The speaker declared that statistics showed that the birth rate among people on relief is 65 per cent higher than the rate among those employed. "These people do not want to have any more children than they can support but they do not know how to avoid it," she maintained.
Referring again to the tremendous increase in the number of insane, feeble minded and unemployables Mrs. Sanger declared that sterilization has got to come if we are to hold our own against the insane and incompetents.
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project