Document 1: "Maternity Protection," Bulletin, Women's City Club of New York, 1 (June 1917), p. 1, WCCNY Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Hunter College, New York, N.Y. (WCCNY microfilm, reel 17, frame 20).
This article in the Women's City Club Bulletin described the need for maternity health care as presented by the Club's Maternity Protection Committee, headed by Miss Anne Goodrich. The document reveals the club's reliance on the complementary tactics of riveting personal stories and statistical overviews.
The club's Bulletin, published monthly, contained updates on club activities, information about future events, financial statements, and special notes. It also provided biographies of staff members as well as a list of cooperating agencies.
Despite the severe weather the meeting on Maternity Protection was attended by an interested group of members. The problem before us was very concretely illustrated by Miss Annie Goodrich, who cited, among others, the following cases:
"One distressing case during January was reported to us as a six days post-partem case with broncho-pneumonia. The patient had a miscarriage in the eighth month was extremely ill, and in a few days pneumonia developed. The case was suspicious from the first, the sputum was examined and during the third week of illness the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (3rd stage) was given by the physician. The fifth week of illness the patient died, leaving three small children."
"Another family, consisting of father, mother and three children. The father does very little work, claims to be sick. The mother works every day in the week, leaving the two oldest children with the father, and the baby 6 months old with a neighbor at 25c per day. The two oldest children, one three and a half years and the other two years, have rickets in the worst form and can not walk. The father sometimes sells wool and coal. A neighbor said last winter these two girls sat on a mattress in the coal cellar all day. You can readily see what it means when these mothers stop to give birth to their babies. There are many families in just this condition. If the women did not work to help out with the living expenses, they would suffer for the real necessities of life. Many of the mothers go to work before the babies are a month old. How can these little ones be strong and healthy when the mothers must work until it is time to give birth to the babies and then leave them so soon to the care of ignorant women?"
Other speakers brought out many vital facts, showing the great need for maternity protection. In the list of sixteen countries having comparable statistics of maternal deaths, for instance, the United States is fourteenth. Where five mothers in the United States die from childbirth only two die in Sweden. Various charts showed the large proportion of deaths of babies under one month and, still more regrettable, showed that these deaths have not been materially reduced during the last decade. Reports of experience gained through various scattered experiments, however, gave great hope that, if properly attacked, deaths both of mother and baby can be greatly reduced, and more vigorous children given to the world. Additional agencies working in the selected district offered their cooperation and we shall work in close association with the City Board of Health. Contributions to this work have not yet brought the necessary amount of money. If you have not already responded to our appeal of the 26th of May may we not hear from you at once?
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