The "Committee on Birth Control"

By AUSTIN O'MALLEY, M.D.

Section 1142 of the Penal Code of New York makes it a mis-demeanor, punishable with imprisonment for several years, to give information subversive of the end of marriage: the procreation of children for the greater glory of God and their own eternal happiness. Although it is no honor to our civilization that such a law is needed, the law is good; as might be surmised, however, it does not meet with entire approval.

It seems there is a society in New York called the "Committee on Birth Control," and under the auspices of this committee a woman who was a teacher before she was suspended for criticizing the Board of Education, recently called a meeting of the "Scientistical" to discuss ways and means to put wheels under this bill, and thus open our libraries and bookshops to translations of French, Italian and German pamphlets reeking with paganism. This woman acknowledged that the endeavor of the meeting would be to further the work of the editor of the dead and buried Woman Rebel, who was indicted, for sending the Woman Rebel through the mails, by a Government which does not grow faint at the moral aroma of the Menace, that spiritual reading of the submerged or decadent. Several other women quite past the whooping-cough period, were present to boost the "uplift" at this meeting. The uplift has a pious interest in the poor. The prime mover in the present wretched campaign says that as things now are, rich women are not obliged to have children because they can buy the wisdom they require to crack the Ten Commandments, but the poor are less favored.

The agitators in this conference yearn over the poor so intensely that they will tear themselves loose from real money, not for bread, of course, but for a kind of printed matter which a decent street sweeper would not lift on his sliding shovel. The poor have so many superfluous children that the little ones are half-starved; therefore do not see to it that they are fed, but make their mothers victims of a base passion, and there will not be any little ones to feed. What a pecuniary saving for the State. St. Vincent de Paul, save us from the wrath of God!

The most helpless idiot if baptized is as far above a non-existent child as St. Bridget is above a Committee on Birth Control, but even if it were not, what right would that fact give to any man to prevent human life? No one must get married, but if he marries he has to meet the law of God, or God will meet him, no matter how all the short-haired apostles of the uplift buzz to the contrary. This morning at Mass I listened to a great churchful of Irish children sending up wave on wave of a litany before the feet of the Mother of Fair Delight, and this flock of the lambs of Christ went to the sanctuary rail in pattering line after line, line after line, and they came down with tiny hands clasped and the light of His Sacred Heart shining through them from within, (God bless you, Pius X, for listening to Him and the hunger of love of Him!) till one could not see the altar-candles for the glory of it; yet these unfortunate gomerils of the uplift would send certain pamphlets, which may not be named, to the white-souled mothers of those who have been suffered to come to Him in peace and joy. God save us from harm.

France has eaten this apple of the knowledge of evil, and in the first six months of 1914 when Europe was still at peace the total number of births in that country was 381,398; a decrease of 4,000 on the year 1913. At the same time the deaths increased 20,845. Thus the population of France during the first six months of 1914 decreased 24,816. For the past thirty years the French birth rate has steadily decreased while the death rate has increased. January, 1916, will find France with about 700,000 less people than she had in January, 1914, and the greatest mortality will be in her unmarried young men. No matter what change of heart the war may bring to France any increase in her population can not possibly be expected at least before 1925. On the other hand, in Germany from 1890 to 1915 the birth rate of males has been about two to one for France. The Germans will therefore put under arms for the twenty years to come twice the number of men France can. Will France, then, get her revenge? If she wants to stay on the map as a second-rate power she will have to look for help to a higher warlord than a man of earth. Our Committee on Birth Control would like to turn this nation into another France.

This article was originally printed in The Catholic Mind, June 22, 1915,
and is reprinted with permission of America Press, Inc. Copyright © 1915.
All Rights Reserved. http://www.americamagazine.org

Transcriber's Notes
Birth Contol
Founded by Margaret Sanger in 1921 and was the predecessor League of Planned Parenthood of America. Over 1,000 quotes from Birth Control Review (1917-1940) can be read at the web site of Human Life International (www.hli.org/issues/index1.htm) in the Life Issues section under Planned Parenthood and other sources.
Caliban
A beastlike slave in Shakespeare's The Tempest. He was the illegitimate son of a witch and a devil and behaves more like a depraved human that a supernatural being. Because he attempts to rape Miranda (Prospero's daughter), he is confined to brute slavery. His name is a legitimate 17th century spelling of "cannibal." There is hope for his regeneration at the end of the play, however, as Caliban states: "I'll be wise hereafter, and seek for grace" (5.1.294-295).
gomerils
silly persons
Mutatis mutandis
Latin:
(1) with the necessary changes having been made,
(2) with the respective differences having been considered.
Niobe
Daughter of Tantalus and Queen of Thebes in Greek Mythology. She was punished by Apollo and Artemis for being too boastful of her 14 children. All her children were killed because of her pride and jealousy of Leto.
Woman Rebel
The first issue of this radical feminist monthly was published by Margaret Sanger in March 1914. She was born Margaret Louise Higgins in 1879 and married William Sanger in 1902. They moved from suburban Hastings, NY to New York City in 1910. Margaret separated from her husband in 1914 and engaged in affairs with several men, including H.G. Wells. In 1922 she married oil magnate James Noah H. Slee. In 1966 she died in a nursing home in Tucson, AZ.


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