Newsletter #15 (Spring 1997)

Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Tribute to Birth Control

In February of 1935, Margaret Sanger celebrated the 21st anniversary of the birth control movement by holding a "Birth Control Comes of Age Dinner," in Washington DC. Many prominent individuals attended and/or sent statements congratulating Sanger on her achievement. Among them was feminist writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who could not attend, but sent the following poem (Gilman to MS, Feb. 7, 1935, LCM,44:16):


For Birth Control; for mothers free
To bear strong children willingly
And rear them well; not as before
Theirs and their children's lives to pour
In needless death and misery.

Who stands against us? Those who see
Gain in unchecked fecundity –
Not better children – only more
No Birth Control

For mothers in whose power shall be
The lifting of humanity –
A world of improving more and more –
A world at peace from shore to shore –
This is the reason and the plea
For Birth Control.