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Prohibition also had an economic motivation: employers wanted sober, efficient workers. Hundreds of Weheling who had witnessed the facts came to the court room afterwards, eager to testify in our behalf. I was fighting that law. My first act had been to reopen the clinic in Brownsville. Her story was a pitiful one-- all lies, of course, but the government acts that way. The courtroom was packed.
Nothing, not even the ghost of Anthony Comstock, could have stopped them from coming!
It was one of the most thickly populated sections. It had a large population of working class Jews, always interested in health moore, always tolerant of new ideas, willing to listen and to accept advice whenever the health of mother and children was involved. Then there was the law--the law of New York State.
This idea was a rejection of Social Darwinism. Temperance, then Prohibition — Progressive reformers focused their fight against the consumption of alcohol on the saloons.
No less than thirty of these mothers had been subpoenaed by the District Attorney. I assured them that nothing could happen to them, that I was under arrest but they would be allowed to return home in a few minutes. We kept a record of every applicant. It was the first time that there womaj any of widespread, popular demonstrations in our behalf.
The Wheelkng were blocking the door to prevent anyone from leaving, but I finally persuaded them to allow these women to return to their homes, unmolested, though terribly frightened by it all. I went to the courtroom accompanied by a group of prominent women who had entertained me at breakfast.
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Subject Terms:. The children on their laps screamed too.
Also, middle-class WASP reformers felt threatened by the power these machines afforded working-class immigrants. For the first time, moree talked openly of this terror of unwanted pregnancy which had haunted their lives since time immemorial. No one could actually tell how it would be received in any neighborhood.
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It stated that no one could give information to prevent conception to anyone for any reason. But it had to be done; that I knew. These reformers were successful in convincing most states to pass factory inspection laws, workers comp, and minimum age of employment laws. A hundred women and a score of men sought our help on that opening day.
The prosecutor had little to prove.
Ethel Byrne, who is my sister and a trained nurse, assisted me in advising, explaining, and demonstrating to the women how to prevent conception. Beautification Campaigns — Some reformers wanted to improve the mlre environment by making it more pleasant and attractive. Saloons were a major center of immigrant culture, for they were not only bars but important social gathering places and where most political machines operated out of.
I knew that here there would at least be no breaking of windows, no hurling of insults into our teeth; but I was scarcely prepared for the popular support, the sympathy and friendly help given us in that neighborhood from that day to this.
All were mothers; most of them had large families. I must say that I was also more and more puzzled by the stilted language, the circumlocutions, the respect for precedent. Reporters turned out in Whweling s. There was, however, Sectionwhich distinctly stated that physicians only could give advice to prevent conception for the cure or prevention of disease.
As in any new enterprise, Wjeeling reports were maliciously spread about the clinic; weird stories without the slightest foundation of truth.
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Many different kinds of women race, class, and ethnicity ed the campaign to win the federal amendment, but the movement was mainly led by WASP middle and upper-class women. Many of the inspectors first hired by city governments under these reforms were women, such as Jane Addams.
Our inspiration was the mothers of the poor; our object, to help them. We had no fear of that accusation. I refused to close down the clinic, hoping that a court decision would allow us to continue such necessary work.
She asked for our literature and preventives, and received both. Refusal to obey the law becomes an open defiance of the rule of the majority as expressed in this statue.
Come back and save me! It was like a panic for a few minutes until I walked into the room where they were stampeding and begged them to be quiet and not to get excited.
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The case was a big one, and to his legal mind, freedom alone meant victory. Moreover, even though they wanted to improve conditions for workers, many middle-class reformers were suspicious of or hostile to labor wantedd because they felt threatened by the idea of working-class autonomy, or working-class solidarity. Many middle-class reformers did not understand this reaction.
Housing and Sanitation Reforms — Progressive reformers urged cities to pass legislation which set standards for housing to try to eliminate the worst tenements and Wheellng sanitation matters as garbage pick-up and sewage systems.