A view on birth control from 1915

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Margaret Sanger, American birth control activist, in 1916

Letter to the Editor: Child birth control

Letter from Allen Steven, published on June 02, 1915 in The Day Book (Chicago, Illinois)

We are long since rid of Salem witchcraft and the persecutions as shown in “The Scarlet Letter.” In the progress of evolution we are going forward.

Today we still retain a lot of superstitious, bigoted notions about birth control, abortions and feeding of nature’s sexual organs, which the superstition of the various clergy love to call immorality. Abortion they call murder.

Margaret Sanger, American birth control activist, in 1916
Margaret Sanger, American birth control activist, in 1916 (Courtesy LOC)

They cannot see a generation ahead of them. They cannot see America overpopulated and butchering each other in the slaughterhouses of wars. They say, “Never mind, the Lord will provide.” The Lord has provided already by his laws in nature.

Woman of the species, alone, is given a sign with which to control the birth rate as she sees fit. If abortion is made a legitimate study of the medical profession and practiced correctly by skilled physicians, there is no more danger of loss of life than in eating a sandwich. But if women are forced to use crochet needles, hair pins, etc., she will do it, in spite of all the laws between Russia and Klondike. After this, she hastily throws herself in the hands of doctors, who are many times unable to save her.

If society will not allow women to have these abortions performed legally and under the most skilled hands we can rest assured that women will continue to mutilate themselves in spite of all the officialdom in the universe.

It is the scorn of society gathering up the skirts that drives women to these things. Nothing is more fitting than the words of Christ, “He of you who is innocent, let him be the first’ to cast a stone at her.” She obeyed the law of nature and only broke the artificial arbitrary laws of man and church. The laws of the Creator she kept.

The original news story that sparked this editorial
Above: The original news story (the “operation” was an abortion) that sparked this response (From The Daily Gate City [Keokuk, Iowa] May 28, 1915)
Humanity is the cause of all wars, and not the Creator. Humanity robs the medical field of a science, that if properly developed, would remove misery, war, overpopulation, masturbation, insanity, unhealthy children and religious and mental grafters and give each sex born the kind of happiness and justice entitled by divine right.

The stimulant crimes of today substituted for nature’s pure habits is bringing out a dull-brained, fretful, degenerate race. These artificial drugs are tobaccoes, liquors, drugs and saltpetre. The artificial habits used to beat nature and musturbation, sodomy, ungratified passion, or sexual starvation. Nearly every lecture and article we read raves and rants about immorality, as though the laws as laid down by the Creator were a crime.

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We have a martyr serving today in Joliet, but the world is not yet ready to look upon her as a martyr. The time is coming, however, when social justice becomes more uniform, the people like a mighty wave will turn on our law makers and religious trust like a tigress.

According to the laws of the Creator women cannot enjoy the best of health unless they have a child, at least. If men only know how they were being injured with artificial and stimulant substitutes they would evolute their ideas. Man will eventually emancipate him self.

Letter to the editor by Allen Steven, 2538 N. California Ave. [Chicago]

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