London. A CHARGE that at London meetings where women assemble from church tea parties to political meetings, touts solicit cases for illegal operations at prices from 3s.6d. up was made by Dr. W. J. O'Donovan in the course of a debate at the Oxford Union.
The university's famous debating society discussed a motion deploring "the present attitude of the Ministry of Health and local authorities toward the provision of birth control information and facilities by the State."
The voting showed 276 in favour of giving the instruction and 105 against.
Besides Dr. O'Donovan. other Catholic speakers included the Rev. Ronald Knox and the Rev. Martin D'Avohy. S.J.
Dr. O'Donovan, opposing the motion, said that if it were necessary to give the information it would be given by hospitals, but so far the hospitals had not thought it necessary. Such information should not be given by borough councillors, he said.
" If birth control becomes an official matter," said the doctor, "it must also become efficient. If it fails then we must have not only an official birth-control service but an abortion service as well.
"Birth control means putting an end to the torch of life. By asking us to give such information you are asking us to be ministers of death. " It will mean a decline in my profession and the public will be driven to new cults of healing, with disastrous results.
" We are told that this is an age of plenty. Then this is not the time to restrict consumers." Father Knox, a former president of the Union, declared that the birth-rate was falling long before the introduction of contraception. Father D'Arcy said the doctrine of birth-prevention is abhorred by the greatest pagans, by Jews and by members of all denominations.
- Malaya Catholic Leader, Saturday, 8th February, 1936 (1936.pdf pp58)