Bills in Congress
FOB A FULL DISCUSSION
I read something in the Leader about whether space should
be given for birth control discussions, in reference to rural com
munities. I believe one page in the Leader should be devoted to
that for six months. If letters on the matter received by the
Leader are too numerous to publish, I would suggest that the
Leader quote from them, and thus publish the principal points
brought out.—T. S. C. G., Watts, CaL
"FEWER BUT BETTER CHILDREN"
-About birth control, this is my opinion: Fewer and better
children, and healthier mothers. We were 14 children in our
family, but I have never been grateral to my parents for bring
ing me into this world. I have worked for different wealthy
families and they all had but few children. Give the .farm
women the same knowledge. The farm women should take time
to give their opinion about these things. .1 am proud of the
farm women's page.—H. C., Milltown, Wis.
HAVE WE "SOLD OUT"?
Birth control How can you ask the question Have you
sold out? Are you trying to cut the throat of your paper?
What good can be accomplished by such a discussion? Abso
lutely none. Can harm be done? It certainly can. Is it not
your mission to establish economic justice? To give toiling
parents the fruits of their labor So that large families become
a blessing instead of a burden? Have you lost hope in this,
your mission If so, step down and let some courageous char
acter take your place. I have children as pure as it is possible
by the grace of God to have on -the farms. They read your
paper. When you start your birth control discussion, stop my
paper. Or better still, discuss your birth control in a birth con
trol edition, this edition to be sent only such subscribers aB
may signify a. desire to read such a degraded discussion.—..
T. B., Clarkfieid, S. D.
FROM MOTHER OF THIRTEEN
I am the mother of 13 children. All the wealth on earth
would never touch one of them. I am for the maternity bill
and more too. I hope the day will come when each county and
every state will have a hospital just for the expectant mother,
to be taken care of until she and the baby are out of danger.
I know mothers today that have done their own washings and
house work when the baby was three days old. In the -first
place they did not know the danger, and in the second place
they had no means to hire the work done. Give the mothers
a chance, the same as a horse or cow.. Mary Grab's letters
are so good they make me happy to read them. I am opposed
to birth control. God made women to bear children and when
they practice birth control it is against our creator's will and
they will surely be punished. Any woman that would rather
nurse a poodle dog than her own flesh and blood—let her do
her own murdering at the risk of her own life. After I read
the Leader I pass it on to' my neighbors. Every one I know
likes to read it.—A. C., Watonga, Okla.
DISCUSS POLITICS, NOT BIRTH CONTROL
I see in the issue of February 20 that
Birth Control Debate Grows Warm
women would like
to use the space in the Leader to have a birth control talk. WiH
vou please tell them to keep that stuff off the pages of the
National Leader? The Leader
a political paper and there
fore its valuable space should not be taken up with other stuff.
We have no space to spare -in fact, we are short, for the
Leader should come once a week and should have 60 pages in
stead of 16. This educating of the people politically is an
enormous big job, and as the Leader is small and comes only
•every two weeks, any one can see we have no space or time
to lose. The Leader discontinued some time ago the so-called
"farm page." It was right that it did so, because we can get
all of til at kind of information free from the agricultural de
partment. I like the farm women's page, but I do not like to
see them use that space for talk outside of politics. The
women need political education more than the men, because
the r"an have more experience with politics.—W. K., Mill
boro, S. D.
"MASTER CLASS" WANTS BIG FAMILIES
By all manner of means, yes, discuss birth control-—any and
of plXblicity in regard to the question of birth con
trol are necessary to the education of women in economics.
We know that our master class favors large families among
the workers, because the more competition among the workers,
the lower wages will be. The more children in industry
the less work for men and women. The more women who
are tied down with large families, the less chance for their
and the families' education along the lines of economics. We
know, too, that among the "higher-ups" birth control is prac
ticed and that women who can afford large families do not
have them. But to me, the best argument for birth control is
,thjt of "voluntary motherhood," rather than the having of
unwanted children—preparation and intelligent thought in
bringing into the world children, who may be strong and
healthy and wanted I By all means let Us discuss this matter,
remembering, however, that it is against the man-made Jaw to
offer direct information to another, or send through the mails
any definite information on the subject.—M. A., Twin Failti,
RAISES A WARNING HAND
It is frankly the opinion of dozens of people* I have talked
to, and I think of the greater number of your subscribers here,
that a discussion of birth control would bring a -storm of criti
cism from the common people and plenty of ridicule from the
other political parties. You know these things are miscon
strued and the mere discussion of the subject draws the con
clusion from so many that we favor it. They shouted "North
Dakota and free love" at us last campaign, saying: "Are you
going to bring that thing down, here?" North Dakota never
contemplated such a condition, but outside propaganda gave
them the credit. One man. said to me today: "If they take
up the discussion of that subject in our Leader, I will leave it
to rot in the mail box." The man who spoke so firmly speaks'
with equal firmness for every principle of the Nonpartisan
words carry weight and respect. Can we not
keep away from these dirty subjects, which, no matter what
-side we take, serve merely to give us a black eye? Let us
discuss League issues. If the women must diversify, on subjects
other than 'League politics, there are subjects without number
on which they can communicate with profit and never-ending
interest Among these we could mention the home, the church,
the schools, society, styles for women, and other subjects. The
exclamations of disgust which hear all over among the com
mon people against the discussion in'our paper of birth con-,
trol have caused me to raise a warning hand.—M. H., Can
ton, S. D.
DOESN'T MEAN BACE SUICIDE
I am glad you are opening up the woman's page for a sub
feet of such great «nd vital iinportance as birth control. An'
investigation bx trne of our large magazines -a few years ago
proved thai the knowledge of birth control would not mean
race suicide. It showed that college girls and professional
women who had given the subject careful consideration desired
children more than those whose experience had been a poor
htune and large families. The average number .of children de
sired by a well informed, woman was four, which of course
would not mean rate suicide. It would thean that the children
would start life right by being planned for and' desired. There
EtM WOMAN'S PAGERS^
are thousands of women who have become semi-invalid because
of too prolific offspring. The mother had no chance to regain
her health between each, child-birth. Thousands, of women
have been made invalids because of attempted abortion some
have actually died in the attempt, Thousands 'of children are
half starved because their parents are unable to supply their
needs. Thousands of children are mentally and physically de
ficient because the mother was weak from too frequent" child
bearing. Other thousands are born from syphilitic, tubercular
and epileptic parents, who should never have been born at all
Breeding of domestic animals is very carelully regulated, in
order to have a good raoe. But children, can come by chance.
What handicaps will the future generation .have under such:
conditions Human beings should be alio wot- to decide how
many' children, they should have. Our laws are against giving
advice how to prevent conception, hut the criminal abortion
ist is very seldom reached by the law. Every, true woman
desires children, but does not wish to have motherhood forced
upon her. Every true man desires children, hut does not fed
that children should be brought into the world to be half starv
ed and with no advantages.—J. N. Firth, Idaho. ..
FROM MOTHER OF FOURTEEN
I see some articles in the Leader on birth control. It is
surprising and shows lack of propriety. The best and blessed
gift God gave to womanhood is that, of motherhood. Now
perhaps you may not think I'm fair when I tell you that I'm
the mother of 14 children, all living except one boy—eight boys
and six girls. I believe they would all be living if I had had
better care and more oonveniences But living on a beautiful
farm in Minnesota, and then moving on a homestead 18 miles
from town and living in a shack with no plaster on the walls
—just a shed—it took me three years to get acclimated. It is
no wonder the little one could not live. I scarcely lived my
self. But I did pull through and I'm blest with four more
making a baker's dozen, as my friends call them.—E. W. E.,
Bessie,. N. D.
NOT A "DISGUSTING" SUBJECT
So many of the readers of the National Leader are_ interested
in the subject of birth control that I wish to ask in all sin
cerity why should any well-read "and "Sensible person assume
that the subject is disgusting? No question under God's own
creation- is of more importance. No condition in this world
of impossible and unreasonable conditions needs to he purified
and adjusted as the all important one of birth control. I wish
the pages of the Leader could lie used as a means of educating
the man and women so that they could see the necessity- of
bringing children into the light of existence in the right way.
In all justice to the fathers and mothers, to the many numbers
of dear little ones and to'all that are.in true and earnest sym-.
pathy with this great work, I wish you Godspeed.—K. G. O.,
Don't write us any more letters on birth
control. Here's a whole page of 'em. We have
enough on Jiand to fill a page in the next
issue, and they are still coming! If we devote
a page to the debate next issue both sides will
then have had a fair show.
Well, just as we expected, the editor is "get
ting it" good and plenty. Several, letters
have called him down for permitting the de
bate and one or two readers threaten to resign
as subscribers. But the Leader and the edi
tor have.taken no stand in the controversy.
We are letting YOU do the debating.
The fact that such a large number of read
ers are interested, for or against, we believe
has justified the debate. We ask those friends
who have criticized iis to read the letters
printed. Net a writer has written anything
that could justly offend any one. The debate
has been conducted on a high plane and we
sincerely hope there will be no hard feelings,
even by a few.
MATTER OF BELIEF OR UNBELIEF
You say you dare print the truth, so l.hope to find my letter
on the woman's page. I mean that my letter should put an end
to all discussion of both sides of the birth control question. It
is nothing more and nothing less than belief and. unbelief.
Birth control is one of the great evils in this world, and a
terrible temptation to Christians and church1 people. The living
"God that feeds the sparrows has promised to feed us. Any
father that believes this promise of God Will always find a way
to feed his children, even if Iff or. 20. To any woman that
wants to tell us how to be married and have no .children we
must reply that "it is not God's way*' The Lord taught us
to pray "deliver us from evil." He did not teach us to pray
to take evil out of the world. So we all have a right to choosei
The people that choose silk clothes, fine houses and worldly
pleasure instead of children, let them have it^.but let us. re
member the end .of Lazarus and .the rich man. What are
churches for if people are going to do the same evil things
that worldly people do. I blame the ministers of the gospel.
If they don't get to their doty and business and preach against
such evils in hot earnest, there will very soon be no righteous
ness. In churches God is love, and he loves littje children more
than anything else. Where thereMs no love for little children,
there will be no heaven. I hope that all ministers of the/
will read my letter-and get to their duty in earnest—
FROM MOTHER OF SIX
have raised a family of six children and am now the grand
..', mother of 10 children, nut I- believe in birth control. O. K.,
Fargo, N. D., says you will get thousands of letters from
mothers who are doing more than their share of child-bearing,
expressing -their abhorrence ofthe practice of birth control.
Maybe you will, but I have always lived in'a farming com
munity or small town and have been called' in many times to
..attend a farm' or working-class mother on the arrival of a new
baby, and I have yet to mieet the first -one who hasn't expressed
a wish that she knew of some way to keep her children "far
enough apart so that one chould «t least walk 'atone before
another arrived to take its place. And ill almost, every case ..
the mother was not thinking of her own pain and trouble, but. f-
the children she could not-properly-care for. M. M. A,
Yakima, Wash., says there is no law of God or man against
continence. Quite right, but that is cold comfort for the av
erage married woman who, under our present stage of civiliza
tion, is to a certain extent her husband's chattel and whoBe
spiritual adviser is often strongly opposed to birth control. He
will tell her that she must be subject to her husband's wishes
in this respect or he may be tempted to wander after other -f7
females. But I believe with a friend at Huron, S. D., that you 2
will only injure the Leader, at this time, by' taking up the dis- "f
cussion of this question. There is-so much prejudice.—A. E., -q
Deer Park, Wash.
SAYS DON'T CHEAPEN LIFE
The need of information concerning birth control is more
urgent today among the working women of America than it
has ever been before. The World war has awakened us to &
the realization that governments will continue to plunge nations
into wars just as long as we, the mothers of the men, make
life cheap. I should think every mother feels, the wrong that
the state imposes upon her when it deprives her of informa- a
tion to prevent the bringing into the world of children she
can not feed or clothe or care for. In cases of women suffering
frdm serious ailments. I think these mothers ought to have a
right to conserve their lives and to prevent the birth of dis
eased or defective children. I think we poor people ought to
have the right to limit our families- as well as the rich.—H. F.
QUALITY, BUT NOT QUANTITY &
So many people hold up their hands in holy horror at the .1
very idea of interfering with God's and nature's plans, but I
think that we should remember that God helps them who help
themselves. The people who, by reason of their financial con
dition and education,' should be the most desirable parents, in &
that they have the money and ability to provide for a large a
family, are the ones, who have the fewest children. The over- -J
worked life-of the.farmer or laborer is usually the one who
has the largest number -of children. The crying need of this
natitra is not quantity, but quality. Havelock Ellis, an emi
nent English scientist^ said that "the need for reproduction is
not imperative now as it was in the legandary days of Noah.
The only children the world needs now are .those who are
worth something to it."—E. A. K., Hinsdale, Mont.
ALREADY HERE—WHY BE SHOCKED?
So far the" letters favoring birth control seem to have the
best of it the majority favor discussion. Others are afraid
discussion might injure^ your paper. But all express their
opinion freely on the subject and about everything has been
said that prudish people dislike to see in print. I. would like
to express the opinion that birth control is-not nearly so wicked
as is bringing children into the world that are not welcome
and not wanted by their -parents. Too many children are born
into the world that are not the offsprings «f love. Children"
that are the offsprings of love seldom become criminals. Be
sides, birth control is coming. In fact it is already here, All
we can possibly do is to retard its progress. We might as well
learn to discuss the question intelligently and face the issue.
Usually those who know so much about God and His laws are
not-cumbered with big families. Continence is safe remedy.
Sure. Continence is all right, but like socialism, the world is
not ready for it. Meanwhile, poverty with big families is
craving information.—H. h. B., Eureka, Wash.
BETTER CONDITIONS NEEDED
Should we discuss birth control? It seems to be quite a quea
tion, but the younger generation are settling it. Perhaps when
they'see their mothers' cares, and troubles, under the present'
system, and see bow they have themselves been denied of educa
tion, it will not look so fine to bring -children into the world to
suffer for clothing, food and shelter. Just think,| in a world
today with plenty of food, clothing and shelter and modern
machinery to produce more for us if need be,- we have cheap
clothes and food, and living in~ disease-breeding hovels. Why?
Because the few control the industries on which the great mass
of people depend. We should have* proper government and in
this way encourage our younger generation to. bring children
into the world with the prospects of having enough-to eat and --.^
proper care. ,Fm toot for birth control, but we cant expect
to encourage our sons and daughters when they have had the
experience in a family of eight or nine children to care for,
with no rest from 6 o'clock in the morning until 9 at night.
v-G. D. C., Huerfano. Col.
ALL PROGRESS VIOLATES "LAWS"
Yes birth control is likely to violate some of nature's laws.
When man began td evolve from a savage into a civilized being,
abandoning the cave for a comfortable dwelling, earning his
-living instead of taking it by force, respecting the females of
his tribe, and developing many other civilised traits, he was
violating some of nature's laws. Who can name one blessing
of civilized life of this ag^ which is not in part or wholly a
complete conquest of some of nature's laws? For what are
men like Townley, Ladd, and dozens of others working, if not -.
to hold in check the national greed of those who strive to Con
trol our whole' industrial system? It's good to repeat six
times every day "that a conquest of nature is the whole duty
of man." Now,"as for the crifne of. birth suppression, the only
remedy is the free distribution of knowledge of harmless rem
edies to prevent conception. It's a sin to keep such knowledge
from married women among the. poor. She alone is the one
to decide whether or not die. shall ne such knowledge
Whether a discussion of birth control' is of is not allowed id
our most appreciated paper,-you can no more stop a movement 1
which promises to relieve so much distress and sin in the world
than you can construct a canopy to shut out the rays of GodV -V
sunshine.—C. F. L., Declo, Idaho. ...v '•.
SORRf QUESTION BROUGHT UP
In regard to the question of whether or not you should allow
a discussion on birth control in the Leader, I-must ohject.
Now this is not saying that my opinion is law »nd gospel: But
if all good fathers aha mothers will just take a second thought
I am sure I will be with the majority. In the first place, if
I understand it right the laws of our great controller, God
Almighty, who has, given all mankind a law to follow cer
tainly would condemn birth control. There would always he
people who would not understand an unlawful performance
and a lawful one, and go according to the laws we now have
on earth. If this be against the laws we have, why discuss
them? We all know there Are ways and meanB to control
births, and there are thousands of different opinions, as to. the»
correct way. If .a father and mother have not the will power
to prevent the forming of a child there
but one lawful way 'J
In my mind stop the. Bame from comina^to maturity, and —•,
that is if-a board of doctors %nd- it necessary to tal^e the life
of the unborn infant,to save the mother's life, they may do so.
I am very sorry £his question should have been brought up for
I feel it is a protest against God's laws and human nature.
This is a great subject and ohe hard to settle by writing.' It
must be .very plain talk to he understood by. all. I fed that j-.
those who are already married and dp not want children are AV jC
entirely too late. Do your part and let God fcnd nature do its ,r
part. If God Almighty does not want to bring children-into this
world you will not he bothered with them. And as to the un- 1
married people that do not want the world to have so many it
babies, just simply refrain from the holy bonds of matrimony.
and be moral, honest and holy. This is pretty'plain, hut really
I would like to Bee-this letter in print in Hie Leader. Hoping
this will not olfend any good reader.—H. J. F., Baker. Mont.- -.-v
,r -i. if.
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