Just as slavery is the Achilles heel of 19th century institutions, eugenics is the weak point of abortion providers. The Black Lives Matter movement has unearthed links to slavery in public statuary and founders of American universities. Similarly, Planned Parenthood has had to distance itself from Margaret Sanger and the name of a former president of the University of Southern California has been expunged from its buildings.
But nobody has a bigger public relations challenge than Marie Stopes International. This is a British outfit with 13,000 employees which claims to be “one of the world’s largest providers of high quality, affordable contraception and safe abortion services”. Last year it helped around 5 million women with their abortions. It’s Australia’s leading abortion provider. It has clinics in 37 countries around the world.
Problem is, there are grubby eugenic fingerprints all over the brand. Marie Stopes, the pioneering birth control provider after whom the group was named, was an ardent eugenicist who even advocated compulsory sterilisation.
So the organisation is changing its name to MSI Reproductive Choices. Problem gone.
But is it?
Stopes was a prolific writer and describing her as a eugenicist is entirely uncontroversial. Here are two passages from her 1920 book Radiant Motherhood:
“It should be the policy of the community to discourage from parenthood all whose circumstances are such as would make probable the introduction of weakened, diseased or debased future citizens. It is the urgent duty of the community to make parenthood impossible for those whose mental and physical conditions are such that there is well-nigh a certainty that their offspring must be physically and mentally tainted, if not utterly permeated by disease.”
[We] “must deal with the terrible debasing power of the inferior, the depraved and feeble-minded, to whom reason means nothing and can mean nothing, who are thriftless, unmanageable and appallingly prolific. Yet if the good in our race is not to be swamped and destroyed by the debased as the fine tree by the parasite, this prolific depravity must be curbed. How shall this be done? A very few quite simple Acts of Parliament could deal with it.”
She even applied these simple precepts in her own life. Upon hearing of her son’s engagement to a girl of whom she disapproved, Stopes wrote to her husband: “marrying her is a crime against this country — which increasingly needs fine and perfect people. Mary, has an inherited physical defect and morally should never bear children.”
How about the N-word? Yes, that too. In 1935, she attended a Nazi Congress for Population Science in Berlin. Zoe Williams, a columnist for The Guardian, mused that “Her eugenics programme was actually slightly to the right of Hitler’s.” Stopes admired Adolf. A month before World War II broke out she sent him a note along with a volume of her ghastly love poems: ‘Dear Herr Hitler, love is the greatest thing in the world: so will you accept from me these that you may allow the young people of your nation to have them?‘
Her views on Jews were none too savoury, either. In 1942 – during the Holocaust – she wrote this charming epigram: “Catholics and Prussians, /The Jews and the Russians, /All are a curse, /Or something worse…”
If there had been any doubt about where her sympathies lay, she bequeathed her birth control clinic to the Eugenics Society when she died in 1958. Stopes’s birth control segued into controlling births.
All this was well known. June Rose’s 1992 widely-reviewed biography, Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution, paints a picture of an unpleasant woman whose brain was boiling with poisonous ideas and documents her devotion to eugenics, her social Darwinism, and her admiration of Hitler. (Rose suppressed evidence of anti-Semitism as “too distasteful”.)
But nobody seems to have cared. Everyone in the abortion zone looked away. None of our business… too long ago … a bold feminist pioneer … makes no difference anyway … As Zoe Williams’s article put it, “Marie Stopes may have held distasteful views on eugenics, but her legacy and influence in the birth control debate is what matters.” It seems likely that they feared being seen as complicit in Stope’s abhorrent views.
But finally the eugenics taint became too dangerous. Anticipating attacks from the ravening wolves of wokery, the managers of Marie Stopes International acted before their business was destroyed. They cancelled their patron saint. Marie Stopes has been whitewashed from the organisation’s history.
MSI Reproductive Choices sounds like a thousand other corporate acronyms and could even be confused with MSI (Marketing Science Institute), or MSI (Museum of Science and Industry), or MSI (Mindless Self Indulgence). But a low profile is what the abortion industry needs.
Simon Cooke, the CEO, explained: “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.”
This is either an Orwellian rewriting of history or wishful thinking.
Eugenics is baked into the “core values” of MSI. Dr Tim Black, his wife Jean Black and porn tycoon Phil Harvey took over the bankrupt Marie Stopes Memorial Foundation from the Eugenics Society, rebranded it as Marie Stopes International, and turned it into an abortion juggernaut. The founders were evidently quite comfortable with their association with eugenics.
A well-documented historic and intellectual link between eugenics, contraception, abortion, and reproductive health cannot be erased with a snap of the fingers.
Shouldn’t Simon Cooke apologise for the decades and decades when his organisation placed a notorious eugenicist on a pedestal? Shouldn’t he explain why the founders deliberately chose to capitalise on the reputation of an admirer of Hitler?
Shouldn’t he be required to prove that his organisation really has abjured eugenics? And that would be a bit hard when Down syndrome babies are aborted regularly in its clinics.