Margaret Sanger, "Commodore Hotel Speech Comments," 8 Dec 1920.
Source: " Birth Control is Advocated, Mount Carmel Item, Dec. 9, 1920, p. 3;Excerpts from Advocates of Birth Control Open Fight for Change in Law, Brooklyn Daily Eagle", Dec. 9, 1920, p. 18."
This text was drawn from the above two newspaper articles. For a draft of Sanger's speech see Excerpt from the Hotel Commodore Speech, Dec. 8, 1920. For other draft versions, see Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections, S70:862 and 866.
"Diplomats may form leagues of nations but so long as women continue to produce explosive populations all the leagues in the world will be merely proverbial scraps of paper." Mrs. Margaret Sanger, birth control advocate, declared in commenting on the new campaign to legalize dissemination of birth control information in this state.
The campaign was launched at a meeting of 500 women under auspices of the New York Women's Publishing Company, publishers of the Birth Control Review. Mrs. Sanger, who just returned from studying social conditions in Europe, bore the following message to American women from European scientists, diplomats and economists:
"We agree with the advocates of birth control that no world peace is possible without a reduction of the birth rate and immediate action toward its international accomplishment."
A bill legalizing dissemination of birth control information will be introduced at the next session of the legislature.
Mrs. Juliet Barrett Rublee presided and introduced Mrs. Sanger. The latter, who is an attractive young woman with a clear cut, colorless face and dark eyes, wore a black cloth gown edged with fur at the throat and a close-fitting turban of ecru and black feathers.
"I understood," she said, "that a scientific contraceptive has been invented in Germany which would solve the problem for all time. I did not find it, but I got in touch with scientists in Germany, Holland and England, and owing to communications established between these countries I believe such an ideal thing will be here, possibly within the year, for our benefit."
"The time has come to apply fundamentals to the world's wounds. Birth control is the step which we must take to ensure world peace. Women who continue to produce explosive populations will make all pledges of peace between nations become so many scraps of paper."
"Birth control is not a new idea. It is as old as Nature itself. Nature has used famine and pestilence and disease to wipe out the unfit. But today we protect the unfit in our hospitals and seek to use science rather than Nature's cruel method. Today, because we have checked Nature's method and are not using the scientific method of birth control the world is in a condition of congestion, misery and poverty."
"Scientists, diplomats, statesmen and reformers--we are disappointed in them all. There is not a nation today which is not dissatisfied with its government. We must attack this problem of congestion fundamentally."
About three-fourths of the audience left at the conclusion of Mrs. Sanger's speech.
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project