Home World UNITED KINGDOM Abortion charity drops Marie Stopes name due to links with eugenics and...

Abortion charity drops Marie Stopes name due to links with eugenics and racism 


Married Love, which was banned in America, advised sex several times a week in order that marriage reach “a new and glorious state” based entirely on “the joyous buoyancy” of a couples actions.

In 1921 Dr Stopes set up the first birth-control clinic in Holloway, which later relocated to central London. It was on this site that Dr Tim Black, Jean Black and Phil Harvey founded a new organisation more than 50 years later, which they named Marie Stopes in recognition of her work to overhaul attitudes to sex within marriage and access to birth control services.  

In 1999 she was voted “Woman of the Millennium” by Guardian readers and in 2008 she featured on a 50p stamp as part of a series celebrating women of achievement.

But Dr Stopes, who died in 1958, was also a vocal supporter of eugenics, a set of now discredited pseudo-scientific theories which promoted sterilisation of diseased or weak people to “perfect” the race. 

She openly advocated for the forced sterilisation of those she believed were “unfit for parenthood”, including the “diseased and degenerate” and “half castes”.  

Similar concepts were promoted by the Nazis and Dr Stopes is said to have been a supporter of Adolf Hitler, reportedly sending him a book of her poems just before the Second War broke out. In 1935 she also attended a conference in Berlin on “population science” – two years after Hitler rose to power. 

“She was a woman of her time… and represented attitudes fairly prevalent in her age,” said Mr Cooke. “But they don’t sit well with our values, which are focused on leaving no one behind.”

He added that fundraising teams, particularly in the US where Marie Stopes as an organisation is less well known, found that the link tarnished the brand and put off supporters, while staff members were “uncomfortable” with the association. 

The chief executive hopes the rebrand, which was the result of an internal consultation, will also make the charity’s purpose more rapidly recognisable. 



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