Birth Control Clinic, Financed by Jewish Welfare Federation, Marks Fifth Anniversary
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Birth Control Clinic, Financed by Jewish Welfare Federation, Marks Fifth Anniversary

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It was during the spring of 1927 that Mrs. Harry Farbstein, Mrs. Mayer B. Sulzberger and Morris D. Waldman, now secretary of the American Jewish Committee, then director of the Jewish Welfare Federation of Detroit, recognized the tremendous need for a birth control clinic here.

To finance what was then contemplated as an experiment, Mr. Waldman wrote to fifteen leaders of the Jewish community asking that they each contribute $100 in order to make it possible to conduct the clinic on a test basis for one year. If it justified its existence, further steps were to be taken to continue the work.

A response which was highly gratifying to the sponsors quickly followed. A number of other socially minded citizens voluntarily asked to be permitted to contribute and as a result a total of $2,200 was finally donated.

Among the reasons set forth in favor of the establishment of a Mothers’ Clinic in Detroit at the time were that Detroit had the highest birth rate of any American city and that one child out of every eight born here was a public charge.

Five years have now passed since this adventure in progressive social service was initiated, and the Mothers’ Clinic for family regulation has earned its place in the community as a vital part of the philanthropic structure.

In recognition of the growing demand for such information from people who were eligible for treatment, additional birth control clinics have recently been opened by other groups in Detroit and in the suburbs.

Mrs. Sulzberger, who was the first president of the clinic, in a statement on the occasion of the clinic’s anniversary, declares: “We know what the Board of Health costs, but not what it saves our city. Likewise the benefits of birth control clinics are far-reaching and incalculable, from the salvaged lives of mothers and their families to the relief of social agencies of every type.

“During the five years of our existence we have accepted over 2,000 cases for care. The past six months have brought in 171 new cases which can be classified as follows: Catholic, 49: Jewish, 44; Protestant (Colored), 43 and Protestant (White), 35.

“A comparison of these figures with the statistics of the preceding six months shows that in the latter period a larger number of Jewish and of Catholic women attended; fewer Protestant white and Protestant colored.

“Because of great periodic variations in the type of women who come to the clinic, it is not practical to attach much meaning to these ever-varying categories except in the case of colored women.

“Our records show a steady decline in the attendance of colored women although their need and the dilemma of the agencies they burden are increasing. Investigation has revealed that this decline is due largely to the fact that these women lack the carfare which is necessary to come to the office.

“The clinic has detailed statistical and social records of all individuals who have accepted. This wealth of research material is available for analysis to any qualified individual interested in studying the clinic and its work as a research project.”

The Mothers’ Clinic receives its support from fees paid by clients and the balance from the Jewish Welfare Federation.

The directors of the Clinic are composed of Mrs. May## D. Sulzberger, president; Mrs. Harry Farbstein, vice-president and treasurer; Mrs. Edwin M. Rosenthal, recording secretary; Mrs. Aaron DeRoy, Mrs. Clarence H. Enggass, Mrs. Rose M. Lipson, Mrs. Willard Pope, Mrs. Oscar Robinson, Mrs. Monroe Rosenfield, Mrs. Emilie G. Sargent, Mrs. Milford Stern, and Mrs. Andrew Wineman.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund