Margaret Sanger, "St. Louis Post Dispatch Interview," 19 May 1916.
Source: " Mrs. Sanger Here to Spread Gospel of Birth Control, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 19, 1916."
On her arrival in St. Louis, Margaret Sanger gave similar interviews to other local reporters.
Mrs. Margaret Sanger of New York is in St. Louis to spread the knowledge of birth control. She will deliver a lecture and take steps toward the organization of a birth control clinic for the instruction of women.
Mrs. Sanger, was the editor of The Woman Rebel, which was discontinued after seven of the nine issues had been confiscated by the postal authorities, and is the author of pamphlets on family limitation. A Federal indictment charging her with improper use of the mails was dismissed in February on the eve of her trial in New York. The reason given was that it was desired to avoid making a martyr of her.
Mrs. Sanger, who arrived at the Jefferson Hotel this morning, said to a Post-Dispatch reporter that she had no wish to be a martyr but she wanted the case to go to trial, desiring acquittal at the hands of a jury and confidant that she would have been acquitted.
She is touring the country in advocacy of birth control. She came here from Indianapolis, where she spoke at the national charity conference and where such interest was aroused, she says, that birth control teas and birth control luncheons are crowding out other society functions.
Not that her message is to society women, she explained, except as she desires to interest them in the propaganda, which is intended to benefit the women of the laboring classes. "I have no message for wealthy women," she said. "They have been taken care of. The woman of Fifth Avenue and Riverside Drive controls her family. It is the woman of the poorer classes who needs enlightenment."
"I was prompted by my experience as a nurse and as a mother to take up this propaganda. In my work as a nurse on New York's East Side I saw that there was overbreeding of the least desirable elements, which was not making for a racial improvement.
"If I had been all the time on the East Side I might have become hardened to the conditions, as others do, but I returned each night to my own home and my three babies, and the contrast inspired me to do what I could to improve conditions among the poor by limitation of their families."
"Birth control does not lead to race suicide. I studied the problem four years in England, Holland, France and Spain. In Holland there are 52 clinics where married women are taught by nurses how to exercise birth control. This has been done for 30 years. The result is that Holland has the lowest general death rate in Europe. The infant mortality in Amsterdam and The Hague is lower than in any other city in the world. There are fewer births, but the babies that are born have a better chance to survive, and the population goes on increasing.
"New Zealand has had birth control clinics for 20 years, and the infant mortality in that country is also low. Commercialized vice is almost unknown in both countries."
"In this country there has never been a clinic for the instruction of married women. I want to see them established in every city. Interest has been manifested by St. Louis nurses and social workers, and something has been done toward organizing a branch of the National Birth Control League, which has already spread to 12 states."
"Unfortunately there is a Federal statute which forbids the use of the mails to disseminate such information, and there are hindering laws in some of the states. The object of the National Birth Control League is to bring about the repeal of these laws, so that nurses and doctors can be free to give instruction."
"In European countries, except Holland and New Zealand, the information is disseminated improperly. I want it done here properly, by doctors and nurses. Such information will go far toward preventing the illegal operations which cause the death of thousands of women."
"The objection is made that the dissemination of this knowledge will encourage immorality. But the women of the upper classes have possessed this knowledge and it will hardly be said that the knowledge has encouraged immorality among them."
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project