by Mitchell Chaves
My name is Harriet Arnold and I recently attended the moving speech titled “The Childrens Era” given by Margaret Sanger on March 30, 1925 during a public meeting at Scottish Rite Hall in New York. Not only did her speech open my eyes to the reasons why women need birth control, but also the lack of knowledge and consideration given to women by Congress.
Margaret Sanger is nurse by day and a birth control activist by night. Her mother was a woman that had been pregnant eighteen times who later died at age forty-seven. Sanger believed the reason for her mothers death was due to the hell her body went through during eighteen pregnancies resulting in eleven living children. Ever since then, Margaret has started publishing her own newspaper and spreading issues around pertaining to women’s health and the need for birth control. Her father was not the typical male, he allowed her to question society and encouraged her to have controversial beliefs.
While embracing Sanger’s speech a few verses stood out to me; one of these being a perfect explanation to how the world is going about raising and creating children the wrong way.“Before you can cultivate a garden, you must know something about gardening. You have got to give your seeds a proper soil in which to grow. You have got to give them sunlight and fresh air. You have got to give them space and the opportunity (if they are to lift their flowers to the sun,) to strike their roots deep into that soil.”
Her explanation blew my mind. I have never thought of the attempt to raise our young in such a way as she did through her metaphors. I finally understand that children need attention and we as women can not be raising multiple children at once because they will not be able to “strike their roots deep in that soil.” She also goes on to say “So far we have not been gardeners. We have only been a sort of silly reception
committee. A reception committee at the Grand Central Station of life. Trainload
after trainload of children are coming in, day and night–nameless refugees arriving
out of the Nowhere into the Here.” This memorable quote reminds me that we as women are constantly having children without taking care of them, without being able to “tend” to our own gardens.
Margaret Sanger is my idol, she has enlightened my life by explaining the immediate need for birth control not only for the protection for the women on this earth but for the care and education of our children. I highly encourage more people, not just women, to attend her amazing speeches and see how Margaret Sanger can change their point of view.