Margaret Sanger, "Future of the American Family," 15 Nov 1932.
Source: " Margaret Sanger Addresses Forum, Daily Collegian, Nov. 18, 1932, p. 1 and Solve Europe's Population Problem, Or War Will Result, Sanger States, Daily Collegian, Nov. 18, 1932, p. 1."
Sanger spoke at the Schwab Auditorium at Penn State College on November 15, 1932, the first in a series of talks sponsored by the Penn State Christian Association. The speech was not found, but quotes were taken from reports in the Daily Collegian.
"Birth control is not a panacea for all the social and economic ills in the world but at least it is the most important immediate help which can be applied as a solution to the present problems of millions of men and women here and now," Mrs. Margaret Sanger said at the opening Forum of the year in the Auditorium Tuesday night.
Mrs. Sanger cited several definite reasons for the practices of birth control. Contraception, she believes, should be used in the case of communicable diseases, where the mother is physically weak and incapable of bearing children, and where the parents produce sub-normal offspring. The practice is also valuable to the spacing of children in a family, protecting adolescent married couples from having children too soon, and also in the case of poverty stricken parents.
"Birth control will give women a chance to develop and to express themselves; it will, above all, mean happier marriages," Mrs. Sanger stated. "Instead of the customary single child in families of the higher classes, and ten or eleven in the poorer classes, birth control will usher in a new era of families with three or four children. This will constitute the American family of the future," the speaker believes.
Mrs. Sanger left the College yesterday afternoon. In addition to her open lecture, she addressed a women's club meeting Tuesday night. While here, a number of teas and luncheons were held for her by her sister-in-law Mrs. Robert A. Higgins and several faculty members.
"Europe's over-population problem is sizzling now; in five or six years something is going to explode!"
Mrs. Margaret Sanger usually convinces the skeptical with her smile, but now a vague shadow of seriousness hovered over it. As she spoke, small, almost unnoticeable gestures betrayed long trying hours on the lecture platform in championing the cause of birth control.
"Already Italy has its eye on several choice pieces of territory. And when its congested mass of humanity is so much in excess that it reaches the brim and overflows, we shall have a war." She paused and then added crisply "This is as inevitable as was the outbreak in 1914."
"Population must be controlled. Unless it is limited or some system of distribution worked out the nations of the world might just as well throw all their peace treaties to the winds," Mrs. Sanger said. "Peace will never be achieved until this problem is solved; that's why the birth control question has become not only of family importance but of international significance."
"Fortunately, statesmen are beginning to acquire some concept of the importance of the over-populated plight of many countries." Mrs. Sanger, who has travelled extensively in foreign countries, is particularly interested in the Italian and Japanese situations. "They must have some outlets for these increasing internal numbers, and they're resorting to invasion to find them," she said.
Mrs. Sanger explained that the de-population could be accomplished by either increasing the death rate of decreasing the birth rate. In the past the death rate has been raised by means of famine, disease, epidemics, and wars; what will happen in the future remains to be seen, she said.
And then her voice softened, she almost seemed shy, so that one would hardly suspect her of being a crusader, a pioneer.
"After all, no matter how hard we fight, birth control will come. It's just a matter of how soon."
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project