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Name change for leading charity


Stopes views were controversial

A leading charity has changed its name.

Marie Stopes International is to be known as MSI Reproductive Choices.

The charity, which provides contraception and abortions to women and girls in 37 countries, said the name change was because of Stopes’ comments on eugenics which were in "stark contrast" to its values and would send "a clear signal that we neither adhere to nor condone" her beliefs.

Simon Cooke, MSI Reproductive Choices chief executive, said: "Marie Stopes was a pioneer for family planning; however, she was also a supporter of the eugenics movement and expressed many opinions, which are in stark contrast to MSI's core values and principles.

"The name of the organisation has been a topic of discussion for many years and the events of 2020 have reaffirmed that changing our name is the right decision."

It was Stopes personal experience in a failed marriage which motivated her to promote sex education and the use of contraception - and led to her writing Britain's first sex manual, Married Love.

Stopes was a member of the Eugenics Society, and she also advocated for the sterilisation of people considered unfit for parenthood.

She was also among the founders of the National Birth Control Council which later became known as the Family Planning Association.

Born in Edinburgh in 1880, she is described as a writer and "family planning pioneer" by English Heritage, which erected a blue plaque in 2010 at her first London home at 28 Cintra Park in Upper Norwood in the south-east of the capital.

But the organisation said many of her views, which included encouraging those she deemed most suitable for parenthood to reproduce, while discouraging others, "now seem repugnant".

She was also opposed to mixed marriages, fell out with her only son because he had chosen to marry someone who was short-sighted, and once wrote to a deaf father of four deaf children that he had brought "more misery... into the world", English Heritage said.

Stopes died in 1958, aged 77.



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