The Minister of Health, The Right Honourable John Wheatley, M.P., received a deputation from the Standing Joint Committee of Industrial Women's Organisations on the 31st July, introduced by Mrs. Harrison Bell.
Dr. Marion Phillips urged the importance of the Government ratifying the Washington Maternity Convention. The provision under the Factory Acts was notoriously inadequate and it was common knowledge that this provision could not be effectively administered. What actually happened was, that the women worked as long as they could, and returned to work as soon as they could. Other countries, including some which were not parties to the convention had already ratified it and according to her information were effectively administering it. She mentioned especially Russia, Poland and Austria. It was a great pity to press forward the reform of the Factory Acts by the new Bill without dealing with this question.
Mrs. Baker urged that the teaching of methods of birth control at maternity centres should no longer be prohibited. There was great ignorance among working women on this subject and a strong desire to learn. Harm was done to both women and children by the too rapid succession of babies and the practice of abortion was growing alarmingly. The statement that women found to be in need of advice on the subject of birth control at maternity centres were referred to private practitioners or hospitals was no answer as in fact women were very often refused the information when they did apply for it accordingly.