Margaret Sanger, "Birth Control," 15 May 1916.
Source: " Conference Hears Birth Talk Today, Indianapolis Star, May 15, 1916, p. 1."
Sanger gave her speech as part of the National Conference on Charities and Correction in Indianapolis, IN. For drafts of the texts Sanger used during this speaking tour, see "Birth Control (Chicago Address on Women)," "Birth Control and Society," Apr.-June, 1916, “Woman and Birth Control," Apr-July 1916, and "Condemnation is Misunderstanding," Apr.-Jun. 1916.Portions of this article not dealing with Sanger's speech have not been included.
"Birth Control" will be discussed by Mrs. Margaret Sanger of New York city at the assembly room, Claypool Hotel, at 2:30 o'clock today. Mrs. Sanger is the woman who was tried last January in New York by Judge Dayton in the Federal Court for advocating birth control. She was released and has since addressed many prominent audiences on the subject.
The address of Mrs. Sanger probably has created more interest in advance among the delegates to the convention and those here who are attending the sessions than any previous talk, because of the daring of her subject, her recent trial, and the fight she has been making all over the country for birth control, and predictions are that the assembly room will be filled to over-flowing.
Mrs. Sanger says that during her fourteen-years' experience as a trained nurse she found that quackery was thriving and that thousands of illegal operations were being performed every year. These, she says, were principally on women of the working class, and since the law deters reliable physicians from performing these operations the working women have always been thrown into the hands of incompetent quacks with fatal results.
"I found that physicians and nurses were dealing with these symptoms rather than the causes," says Mrs. Sanger. "Consequently, I decided to help remove the chief causes by imparting knowledge to prevent this system of things. I did this in defiance of existing laws and their extreme penalty through the publication of The Woman Rebel. The first issue of this magazine was suppressed, as were seven out of the first nine.
"After my word had gone broadcast the Federal Grand Jury in New York city indicted me on three counts. These indictments were based on articles in three of the issues of the Woman Rebel, which were branded as 'obscene.' The authorities were anxious to forestall the distribution of this knowledge and knew that this could only by done by imprisoning me.
"I decided to avoid imprisonment, at least until I had given out the information I wanted, so I published 100,000 copies of a pamphlet on 'Family Limitation.' After this I sailed to England and made a study of conditions in England, Holland, France and Spain. I then returned to this country and fought the case that the government had brought against me. Federal Judge Dayton acquitted me. Hundreds of requests have been made to me to renew 'The Woman Rebel,' but I feel it has already accomplished its purpose to arouse interest. Now more constructive work is needed, in meeting the people directly and interesting them in establishing free clinics in these sections where women are overburdened with large families."
The remainder of the article, which describes other speakers, has not been included.
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project