Marie Stopes changes name over founder’s eugenics ideas

LONDON (AP) — One of Britain’s leading family planning organizations is changing its name to distance itself from its founder’s troubling views on eugenics and race.

Marie Stopes International, which provides abortion and contraception services, said that starting Tuesday it will be known as MSI Reproductive Choices.

It said the change was “a clear signal that we neither adhere to nor condone” the views of Stopes, a women’s rights campaigner who founded Britain’s first birth control clinic in London in 1921. It grew into an organization that operates more than 600 clinics around the world.

Stopes supported eugenics, the now-discredited movement to improve the human race through selective reproduction. She opposed interracial marriage and advocated the sterilization of people considered unfit for parenthood.

MSI chief executive Simon Cooke 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.”

Cooke said changing the name had been under discussion for years, and this year’s global Black Lives Matter protests “have reaffirmed that changing our name is the right decision.”

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