Chicago Daily Journal

"All Babies Legitimate" Theory Brings Reply "Mothers Entitled to Husbands."
Prof Thomas Startles Suffrage Leaders by Views on Maternity Rights

Suffrage leaders and others who have developed theories for the advancement of women, today discussed the radical ideas regarding the right of motherhood presented to them by Prof. W. I. Thomas of the University of Chicago at the banquet Tuesday night in Hotel La Salle, attended by delegates to the conference of the National American Woman Suffrage association.

Some said they were shocked but interested, while others declared they were certain the suffrage cause had been injured by such an open discussion of free love.

In his lecture, Prof. Thomas said that "any child is made legitimate by the very process of birth."

Women Want Homes

This brought the public rejoinder from Miss Alice Stone Blackwell, noted Boston suffrage leader and clubwoman, that if she were entitled to be a mother she would be entitled to a "whole husband and a home."

"There are many things besides war deluding us," he said. "Some women are almost insane to be mothers, and they should be under no social obligation to kill their child.

"Right to Choose Maternity"

"The child, by the act of birth, is made legitimate. Woman have a right to choose when they shall make the maternal sacrifice. They are more prepared to accept this attitude than men, and are relatively the only free members of society.

"Every woman has the right to limit the number of children she shall bear, and the right to know how to restrict the size of her family.

"Society needs more sexuality in the broader interpretation of the term. The world has grown no better since the so-called days of savagery.

Finds Little Progress

"The American Indian had nearly all our civic virtues and only a few of our vices. We have doctrines of brotherly love, individualism, theocracy, and our institutions of legal systems, prostitution, war and ‘sweating.’ Our science is more effective, our morality is not.

"Woman’s assertion of her right to motherhood is a revolution and no one can stop it. Women are more free than men and are not so rigidly accountable for their acts in the social system.

Development of Fraternity

"The interest of a mother in her children is only broader development of sexuality and from that have developed doctrines of the eternal brotherhood of man, or brotherly love. The world needs more of this perfectly human feeling, not more restrictions of it.

"Food and reproduction are the only two original and fundamental principles governing the universe. Without food the individual perishes. Without reproduction the race dies.

"A girl is the most attractive thing in the world.

The church of the eighteenth century considers her fit for marriage and nothing else.

Have Right to Husbands

"Prof. Thomas has taken a purely masculine view," said Miss Blackwell, today. "He said that it would be revolutionary to recognize that monogamy was not the only respectable way for a woman who wanted a child to have one. The great majority of women believe, however, that a woman who wants a child has a right to a whole husband and to have him all to herself.

"When women reach a point where they can make this view accepted in fact as well as theory, it will be as big a revolution as it would be to establish the doctrine that other relations were as respectable as monogamy."

Statements made by Prof. Thomas will be used for campaign purposes by anti-suffragists, according to Mrs. M. J. Reynolds, president of the Woman’s Political Union of New Jersey. She characterized the address as entirely out of place and unnecessary.

Will Hurt Suffrage Cause

"It was uncalled for and out of place," she said. "Already in New Jersey, where we are to meet our opponents at the polls in a short time, the antisuffragists will be making use of these statements, declaring that is the foundation of the ideals of suffragists. It will harm, and blacken us even to those who are friendly to our cause."

"You have to shock people to make them think," said President Shaw. "The address has set every woman who heard it thinking, and they are thinking women who are able to consider both sides of such a proposition.

"Political emancipation is not the only emancipation . There is a greater freedom which women must gain, the freedom in social relations.

"Women are over-sex-developed, and men are responsible for that condition. They never think of woman as anything but a creature of sex.

Discredit Woman’s Intelligence

"She is not credited with ideals of brains by men. I don’t believe in mothers’ love. I believe in mothers’ intelligence, the intelligence with which a mother teachers her child all it should know, which means all that it can assimilate and retain.

"The object of marriage is motherhood. I don’t believe all married couples should have children. Neither do I believe that there should be no single men and women. I believe Prof. Thomas took the proper place to present those views which have been buried in the minds of men for centuries.

"He simply took advantage of the fact that we are intelligent women, who are able to look at a problem like this from a broad standpoint, and who are his equal socially and intellectually," said Mrs. James W. Morrison, who was toastmistress at the banquet.

Glad to Hear Speech

"I invited Prof. Thomas to come and I would not have missed his address for a great deal. I do not care to say whether I would have invited him if I had known what his address was to be. I extended him time in order that he might apply some of the theories he set forth, and I suppose I was criticized for that.

He did not expect us to believe the statements < several words obscured >

Dr. Amelia Keller of Indianapolis, a member of the executive council said the report should be incorporated in a report to a vice commission.

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