Indian religious views on birth control

The Margaret Sanger Papers
Last updated
March 25, 2011, 7:44 a.m. (view history)

In 1948, Sanger wrote: "To say that there are religious obstacles in Japan, India and China regarding birth control is untrue.  The only religious organized opposition to the control of the birth rate through contraceptive means is right here in our own land.  In my travels many times in the Orient, aside from a few fanatical religious opponents, there was not concentrated opposition.  There were no laws against the establishment of contraceptive clinics.  In fact the people from all these countries looked for some means to help them space their pregnancies."

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"Every where there was an eagerness to hear about birth control. All the dubious and dismal prognostications as to religious objections of Hindus and Mohammmedans have proven false in my experience. As in other countries the opposition came from the Roman Catholics and in India this weak opposition was expressed by foreign born priests and a few Eurasians."

The masses in India as in other countries desire means to limit the size of the family. The problem there as elsewhere is how to supply the demand and direct the practical application of birth control into the classes where it is most urgently needed."

Notes John Megaw's suggestion that "contrary to the usual belief, educated Indians were willing and even eager to consider any means of dealing with the evil of over-population; the chief prejudice was encountered among Europeans who wrongly imagined that Indians were antagonistic to any suggestion to reform their ancient customs."