Medicine: Birth Controllers on Parade

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Up Capitol Hill last week marched a cohort of Birth Controllers for their annual harangue before unheeding Congressmen. At the head of the column strode Mrs. Margaret Sanger in green cloth, and Mrs. Thomas Norval Hepburn in black.

Mrs. Hepburn is the wife of a Hartford physician, the mother of famed Actress Katharine Hepburn, the cousin of Alanson Bigelow Houghton. An ardent worker for Causes, she once picketed the White House for suffrage. Following the well-tried formula of the past three years, Birth Controller Hepburn induced a Congressman, this time old (72) Representative Walter Marcus Pierce of Oregon, to introduce a bill exempting the medical profession from the Federal ban on the shipment of contraceptive information and material. Four times before in the last ten years had a House Committee heard arguments on similar legislation and four times before had done nothing. The fifth time promised only the same.

The Judiciary Committee's big chamber lacked room for the Birth Controllers. So all paraded to the huge marble caucus room in the House Office Building. News photographers prepared to take pictures. Comely Mrs. Hepburn, like her actress daughter, objected. Her dissent provoked a vote by the Committee: for photographs, eight; against, three. Mrs. Hepburn disappeared during the picture taking.

With a gallery of special-interests and hangers-on breathing heavily, Mrs. Hepburn started the show by attempting to anticipate Congressional skepticism and Roman Catholic slurs. "We are not connected," she insisted, "with any commercial interest* We are here because Mrs. Sanger in her nursing experience of 20 years became convinced that Birth Control was necessary for the welfare of women. . . . Race suicide talk is just as ridiculous as was that of those who said, when we women wanted the vote, that it would destroy the home."

Mrs. Sanger. slim and tense, recited her old piece to the glum, fidgeting Committeemen: "The forgotten woman can have her child's teeth and adenoids cared for at clinics. She can send her children to get free luncheons. She can do nothing for her own most pressing problem."

A little riot developed when Religion's spokesman for Birth Control, Rabbi Edward L. Israel of Baltimore, exclaimed: "If you members of the Committee think birth control is immoral, then pass a law that will drive contraceptives out of every home in the nation."

Up hopped Committeeman John Camillus Lehr of Monroe. Mich., to shout: "I want it to appear on the Committee's record that there has never been a contraceptive in my home. I have six children."

Representative Pierce: "I also have six children." Mrs. Hepburn: ''I also have six children."

Rev. Charles Edward Coughlin, radiorator of Detroit's Shrine of the Little Flower, utterly antagonistic to Mrs. Sanger's movement, brought down the house: "The Negroes are out-begetting the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic races in this country. So are the Poles. . . . Distribution is what we need. There aren't enough hungry mouths in this country to consume the wheat we raise."

The gallery: "Booh! booh! booh! boo-oo-ooh!"

Father Coughlin: "I'll take care of them over the radio."

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