November 9, 2012

birth control following the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920

Felipe Puerto Carrillo (1872-1924)
Roberto Haberman
It seems that he was one of a group who translated her 1914 pamphlet, Family Limitation, reprinted it, and through the Socialist Party distributed thousands of copies to the people of the Yucatan.
The result of this propaganda has been the popularizing of the pamphlet to such an extent that the first edition of 5,000 has been exhausted the day after its appearance, and the necessity of the printing of another of 10,000 which is going to be distributed to all school teachers, and marrying officials throughout the State. (Haberman to Sanger, Mar. 22, 1922, Sanger Papers, Library of Congress microfilm, reel 19, frame 253.)
What was unique about the Mexican situation in 1922, was that the government supported birth control and that the power of the law and the courts defended the work of birth control activists. When the Knights of Columbus sought to have the pamphlet banned, District Attorney Arturo Cisneros Canto (1887-1963) released a statement refusing to prosecute:
“The Attorney General’s Office cannot shape its manner of proceedings to the narrow-minded and antiquated criteria of morality, the result of deep-rooted religious prejudices, which crops out in your petition. The Executive of the State wishes to have it made clear that forever have gone the prosecutions which have no other cause than moral fanaticism which filled with horror the vast period of clerical domination of the Middle Ages. As long as the present socialist government directs public destiny, the Attorney General’s office will not undertake any  prosecutions for futile ideas of morality, since prosecutions in the name of morality have at all times been the most odious pretext of which religion made use so as to destroy its enemies.” (From the Diario Official, Mar. 14, 1922, as published in the Birth Control.)
In 1924 Governor Carrillo Puerto was assassinated, and support for feminist and socialist reforms there evaporated.

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