Among the various themes developed by Mussolini, orthogenesis and birth rates were dominant throughout the entire speech. For Mussolini, physicians had to become gatekeepers, and decide what was right or wrong for Italians’ bodies and minds, and ultimately for the future of Fascism. In particular, Mussolini asked physicians to challenge flawed popular assumptions about the effects of giving birth, which many men considered an event that derived women of their beauty. For the Duce, such wrong-headed notions would ultimately lead to demographic crisis. Instead, Mussolini argued, Fascism should encourage maximal birth rates and minimal mortality among young people, in order to lower the average age of the Italian population, and thereby become stronger. Nations with a large elderly population, he warned, were destined to be defeated by younger countries. Doctors would have to be decisive in implementing this policy.