Dorothy Knowles

Dorothy Knowles, wife of Republican Gov. Warren Knowles, models her inaugural gown in January, 1967.

L. ROGER TURNER, STATE JOURNAL ARCHIVES

This State Journal editorial ran on Nov. 1, 1967:

Mrs. Dorothy Knowles deserves credit for holding a panel on liberalizing the state’s birth control laws.

The fact she is the wife of the governor, and the fact she moderated the panel in the executive residence are, in this instance, incidental.

They undoubtedly will draw protests, but they will only serve to assess her fortitude.

Her open and frank sponsorship of a discussion of this issue should encourage legislators who are reluctant to handle such a “hot potato issue.”

This isn’t a hot potato issue; it’s a bread and butter one.

Mrs. Knowles is correct in calling the present law archaic.

It links birth control devices as “indecent articles” with things that cause abortion. A new law would remove that archaic definition, and would make them available to persons 18 years old.

It is not, as some opponents claim, an opening to promiscuity. The “articles” would be sold only by pharmacists or doctors, and there would be no widespread advertisement for them.

The devices would be made more easily available to those who need them — the poor and the unsophisticated. Welfare workers would be able to assist families in family planning. But ... there would be no attempt to force anyone to practice such family planning.

Mrs. Knowles pointed out that this was not a discussion of morals; it was and is a matter of free will, of choice. ... The family planning bill should be passed. We hope Mrs. Knowles’ leadership in handling this vital issue will instill courage in legislators.

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