Margaret Sanger, "United Press Interview," 10 May 1955.
Source: " Margaret Sanger Says Crusaders Still Needed, San Mateo Times, May 10, 1955, p. 18."
We have plenty of causes worth fighting for today, one of history's most famous women crusaders declares, but the crusading spark in modern women is "dampened down."
There was no reproof in her tone, but Margaret Sanger admitted during an interview here that if she were young again she'd be out fighting for one of several social evils that she thinks need correcting.
"This isn't the age for it really," Mrs. Sanger said in a gentle voice. "A good deal of the initiative that belonged to my generation has been dampended down. You talk to young college women now and they say there isn't anything to do."
Mrs. Sanger, the founder of the birth control movement in this country and still a world force in spreading her beliefs to other nations, is a serene 71 years old.
Forty-one years ago she fled to England to escape a federal indictment.
Her name belongs on a list of militant feminists along with such women as Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Nation and Lucretia Mott.
In fact, people are inclined to associate her a little too much with history to suit Mrs. Sanger. They're often surprised to find she is still alive.
"Young people think the fight for birth control took place a long time ago," Mrs. Sanger said. "Many times they confuse my name with Margaret Sangster, and they assume I'm dead."
(Margaret Sangster was a novelist and poet who died in 1912.)
Mrs. Sanger was a nurse, the wife of an architect and the mother of three children when she went to work in earnest to make birth control a legal and public issue in 1912. Two years later the federal government indicted her for sending birth control information through the mail. she fled to England when "the people versus Margaret Sanger" case was cancelled.
A biography of her life, "The Margaret Sanger Story," was just published by Doubleday, and Mrs. Sanger is busy planning a trip to Japan next fall to bring that nation into the International Federation of Planned Parenthood. She came here last week from her home in Tucson, Ariz., to attend the federation's convention.
Asked what cause she might lead today, if she were young again, Mrs. Sanger said,
"Women's prisons, I think. You could clean up a good deal of wrong there. That is, assuming these other things had been achieved, like women's suffrage and birth control."
The tireless crusader did spend a month in a Brooklyn jail some 30 years ago, and after that wrote some bitter letters to public figures about the treatment of the women prisoners. But the birth control movement claimed all of her time.
"You must have faith in it," she said, referring to the first qualification for any reform movement. "I still have it."
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project