People (April 1931) news items: disputed quote by President Herbert Hoover, Senate tesitmony on birth control, use of eye color inheritance in courts
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People (April 1931) news items: disputed quote by President Herbert Hoover, Senate tesitmony on birth control, use of eye color inheritance in courts

40 PEOPLE [graphic of Galton] Eugenical Panorama [graphic "Yea I have a goodly heritage" medal] Contributing Editors: Loyd L. Anderson, Guy Irving Birch, S. Wayne Evans, Marion Hansell, K. C. MacArthur [double rule width of page] National Annual Meeting The annual meeting of the American Eugenics Society will be held May 6 at the Town Hall, 123 West 43rd street, New York City. There will be a noon meeting and conference, and afternoon program of papers by the members of the Society's staff, and an evening address by Dr. Harry Allen Overstreet, professor of philosophy in the College of the City of New York. [centered hairline score] Mr. Hoover Denies A White House denial that President Hoover believes "One hundred per cent of all deficient children are simply the product of bad feeding" was received and made public recently by the American Eugenics Society. The statement, attributed to the President appeared in the February [italics]Cosmpolitan Magazine[end italics] in the course of an interview with the President written by Frazier Hunt, a contributing editor of the magazine. The Society also made public Hunt's comment on the White House denial. The White House statement as received by Leon F. Whitney, executive secretary of the Society, who wrote to the President about the matter was as follows: "The sentence ascribing to the President the remark that 'according to the (Child Health) Conference, one hundred per cent of all deficient children are simply the product of bad feeding' certainly does not represent the President's point of view and was doubtless written under a misapprehension of something he said in conversation. Nor was the Child Health Conference itself committed to this doctrine. It is of course in contravention of all scientific knowledge of heredity." Hunt, author of the [italics]Cosmopolitan[end italics] article, when asked by the Secretary to comment on the White House statement replied as follows: "I certainly don't want to get in any argument with the President or his staff but I would like to say that the article was carefully gone over by the President personally and okayed by him and if there was a slip-up in it it was no doubt due to an oversight in checking up the story." [centered hairline score] The Birth Control Hearing We have read with interest a number of newspaper accounts of the two hearings before a sub-committee of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Gillett bill (S. 4582) which would exempt licensed medical practitioners from the provision of the federal laws forbidding circulation of contraceptive information. As we also [text, center column]had the privilege of attending these hearings we might add that on the whole the newspaper reports of the hearings were fair to both sides and as extensive as practicable for the daily press. But as extensive as the press reports were, many interesting happenings and much enlightening data could not be published. We shall all have to wait for the published hearing themselves to be certain of what was actually said. As we let our memory run back over the hearings (the proponents were allowed about an hour and a half on Friday, February 13, and the opponents the same time on Saturday), the conviction becomes stronger that those speaking in behalf of the bill spoke as theologians regardless of what organization they were supposed to represent. Dr. Henry Pratt Fairchild, President of the American Eugenics Society spoke as a population expert and he is internationally recognized in the field. Professor Roswell H. Johnson of the University of Pittsburgh spoke as a eugenicist. Dr. J. Whitbridge Williams of Johns Hopkins spoke as a practicing obstetrician. Rabbi Sydney E. Goldstein of the Jewish Institute of Religion of New York, and the Rev. Dr. Charles F. Potter of the First Humanist Society of New York, spoke as moral theologians. Even Mrs. Margaret Sanger spoke from first-hand knowledge of the experience of thousands of women during the many years she has led the birth control movement in this country. (The substance of Mrs. Sanger's testimony is given on page 27. --- Ed.) On the other hand, all those who spoke against the Gillett bill no matter what they were listed as representing, spoke as theologians might have spoken during the Middle Ages. Those who appeared in opposition were: Ralph Burton, National Patriotic League; William F. Montavan, Director, National Catholic Welfare Conference; Redmond F. Kernan, Jr., International Federation Catholic Alumni; Judge Alfred H. Tally, Catholic Club of New York; Charles F. Dolle, National Council of Catholic Men; Miss Agnes Regan, National Council of Catholic Women; Mrs. Rita McGoldrick, International Federation of Catholic Alumnae; Representative Mary T. Norton, New Jersey; Representative John W. McConnick of Massachusetts; Dr. Charles Derry, President, Marymount College, New York; Miss Mary Mattingly, Sodality Union, Washington, D.C.; Mrs. Alice Bicksler, Daughters of Isabella; Canon William Chase, International Reform Association; John Sumner, New York Society for the Suppression of Vice; Dr. Howard Kelly, Gynecologist, Baltimore, Md.; Dr. Henry W. Cattell, Editor of [italics]International Clinics[end italics]; Edward F. McGrady, Legislative Representative, American Federation of Labor. The usual arguments against contraception as unnatural, irreligious, immoral and suicidal, were employed by the opponents of the bill. These arguments were accompanied by the usual degree of dogmatism and formality. They were met squarely by the proponents of the bill who had anticipated the opponents the day before. Dr. Fairchild seemed to have spiked the unnatural argument by explaining quite clearly that as human nature was an essential part of nature, that argument was rather meaningless. Whether or not contraception is irreligious seems to depend largely upon whether one follows the Lambeth Council or the Vatican. But the suffering and misery brought about by uncontrolled reproduction (the natural family is about eighteen children it was stated by one proponent) could hardly be looked upon with approval by any wise and loving creator. It was also pointed out by the proponents that if high death rates, poverty, illiteracy, child labor, poor housing, war, famine and pestilence are normal, then contraception is immoral, because contraception is one of the most effective methods of destroying these evils, as the experience of the upper classes and the countries of Northern and Western Europe will bear witness. Breeding From The Bottom It was further pointed out by the proponents that because of the federal laws [photo of Hoover, center, mid page][photo credit]Ewing Galloway [photo caption]HERBERT HOOVER He didn't say it [end]

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