Family planning charity renames to distance itself from eugenics supporter Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes International has rebranded due to the controversial views of the family planning pioneer it is named after.

The charity's new name is MSI Reproductive Choices, which sees it remove Stopes' name from its branding.

Stopes, who died in 1958, founded the UK’s first birth control clinic but was also a supporter of eugenics, the racist movement that sought to discourage reproduction by people its supporters classed as “undesirable”.

“Marie Stopes was a pioneer of 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,” said MSI Reproductive Choices chief executive Simon Cooke.

“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 now is the right decision.

“As we look to the future with our new 10-year strategy, we are reflecting our fundamental focus in our new name, MSI Reproductive Choices.”

The name change comes amid a fresh strategy for the charity to reach at least 120 million women and girls to offer sexual and reproductive health care services over the next 10 years. This includes a focus on “the poorest and most marginalised,” said the charity, such as teenagers, those in poverty and displaced communities.

The charity has also pledged to “forge new partnerships with governments and donors to fund high-quality, sustainable and accessible services”.

Cooke added: “We know the benefits that diversity brings, enabling our workforce to be truly global both in location and approach and we are committed to developing and increasing regional, national and female leadership.

“With women and girls facing the brunt of daunting global challenges such as inequality, the global pandemic and the impact of the climate crisis, we have a long road ahead of us.”

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