Marie Stopes: Women’s Rights Activist Or Nazi Eugenicist?

By   on October 18 2012


          Marie Stopes was a great admirer of Adolf Hitler and Nazi-style eugenics.  Wikipedia

Pro-life activists in Northern Ireland have already begun protesting the planned opening of the first private abortion clinic in Ulster, a clinic that will be run by the Marie Stopes International Organization, a British-based NGO that provides reproductive health care services.

While the subject of abortion elicits heated debated and passion from both opponents and supporters, some might be surprised, even appalled, to learn that Marie Stopes, the British women’s rights campaigner that the NGO is named after, was a great admirer of Adolf Hitler and Nazi-style eugenics.

Stopes, who died in 1958 at the age of 77, was never really in favor of abortion but steadfastly denounced the practice of women giving birth to unwanted babies. She and her husband, philanthropist Humphrey Verdon Roe, founded what is believed to be Britain’s first birth-control clinic — the Mothers’ Clinic in North London in March 1921.

By the 1930s, like many other scientists and scholars in Western Europe, Stopes had long embraced the concept of eugenics — “perfection of the human race through selective breeding” — and combined her theories of eugenics with her advocacy of birth control.

As early as July 1922, in a self-published tract called “Birth Control News,” she wrote: “Sterilization of the unfit raises a hornet’s nest, but no one worries at all about the daily sterilization now going on of the fit. Young married men of the professional classes are today often forced by conditions to remain sterile, though they passionately desire the healthy children they could have if they did not have hordes of defectives to support in one way or the other.”

In another book, entitled “Radiant Motherhood,” Stopes criticized any society that “allows the diseased, the racially negligent, the thriftless, the careless, the feeble-minded, the very lowest and worst members of the community to produce innumerable tens of thousands of stunted, warped and inferior infants.”

Moreover, in that era of ascendant fascist rule in Germany and Italy, her advocacy took on a rather dark and sinister aspect. Indeed, she called for “the sterilization of those totally unfit for parenthood,” including “the inferior, the depraved.”

Indeed, in 1935, she attended the International Congress for Population Science in Berlin (two years into Nazi rule) and frequently wrote and spoke of such concepts as “racial purification” and “racial degradation,” leading to direct charges that she was racist, anti-Semitic and virulently anti-Catholic.

Stopes’ obsession with eugenics even applied to her own family. She expressed horror when her son Harry married a woman with an eye condition that she feared would be inherited by her grandchildren.

“Mary [her daughter-in-law] has an inherited physical defect and morally should never bear children,” she angrily wrote. “By marrying her he [Harry] had betrayed his parents and made a mock of our life’s work for eugenic breeding and the race.”

(Harry was subsequently cut out of Stopes’ will.)

Moreover, in August 1939, just one month before Britain went to war with Germany, Stopes sent Adolf Hitler a copy of her book “Love Songs for Young Lovers,” which included the following introductory letter: “Dear Herr Hitler, love is the greatest thing in the world: So will you accept from me these [poems] that you may allow the young people of your nation to have them? The young must learn love from the particular ’till they are wise enough for the universal. I hope too that you yourself may find something to enjoy in the book.”

In 1942, well into the Second World War, Stopes composed a poem that included the stanza:

“Catholics, Prussians, the Jews and the Russians, all are a curse, or something worse.”

In 2008, Britain’s Royal Mail was bitterly criticized by many quarters for honoring Stopes with a commemorative stamp as one of the leading British women of the 20th century.

A prominent British cleric named Peter Mullen, rector of St. Michael’s in the City of London, condemned Stopes as a Nazi sympathizer and added: “She campaigned to have the poor, the sick and people of mixed race sterilized. The managers of the Royal Mail deserve to be condemned for their honoring Marie Stopes.”


British Government Chooses Hitler-Loving Abortion Movement Pioneer for Stamps

by – Sep 02, 2008

LONDON, September 2, 2008 ( ) – Marie Stopes, the notorious early 20th century contraception campaigner, eugenicist and anti-Semite, did for Britain what Margaret Sanger did for the US:  preached the doctrines of eugenics and promoted contraception and sterilisation to achieve “racial hygiene.” So successful was she at altering British society in favour of her eugenics doctrines, the British government has chosen her to be included in a “Women of Distinction” line of stamps.

The Royal Mail announced this weekend that the face of Marie Stopes, who advocated the sterilisation of poor women to promote the “welfare of the race”, will feature on the 50p stamp. The stamps will be available beginning 14 October 2008.

Columnist Gerald Warner wrote on his weblog at the Daily Telegraph, “Considering the hysteria nowadays attaching to issues of race, at first sight it seems extraordinary that Stopes should have earned commemoration on a stamp.”

“To the [politically correct] establishment, however, even racist peccadilloes can be ignored to honour a pioneer who helped promote the anti-life culture and relieve women of the intolerable trauma of giving birth to a child with a cleft palate.”

Blue plaque commemorating Marie Stopes at the University of Manchester

Marie Stopes was a major figure in normalising eugenics doctrines in Britain and abroad one result of which has been that, under current British legislation, a child deemed by a doctor to have a “serious” defect may be legally killed by abortion up to the end of the natural gestation period.

Warner’s comments have been re-published and expanded upon by many in the British Catholic bloggosphere. Fr. Ray Blake, a popular priest blogger and pastor of St. Mary Magdalen parish in Brighton commented, “I am afraid any items of post arriving here with this stamp on it will be returned to the sender. I hope other bloggers take this up, especially amongst the Jewish community.”

Christopher Howse, another Telegraph writer, criticised the choice this weekend, calling it “absurd.” “It is hard to think the postage stamp committee was fully aware of the craziness of Miss Stopes’s life and ideas.” Howse noted that when her only son Harry announced his engagement to a woman who wore spectacles, Stopes became furious, writing, “I have the horror of our line being so contaminated and little children with the misery of glasses.”

Born in 1880, Stopes was a paleobotanist by education, but it is her legacy as a promoter of eugenics, Nazi racial theories, mandatory sterilisation for poor people and artificial contraception – what the Royal Mail calls “family planning” – for which she is best remembered. Marie Stopes International is a major engine of the world’s abortion and population control movement, with nearly 500 centres in 38 countries.

In 1921, Stopes opened Britain’s first “family planning” clinic, offering artificial contraception to married women of the lower classes in an attempt to control the population of the poor, whom she considered to be polluting the race. Reflecting the racist message of the eugenics philosophy, her birth-control organisation was called the Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress.

Her 1921 slogan, echoed by the modern abortion movement, was, “Joyful and Deliberate Motherhood, A Safe Light in our Racial Darkness.”

In 1930, other such organisations joined to form the National Birth Control Council, later the Family Planning Association, which remains one of the most powerful voices of the abortion lobby to this day.

The BBC biography noted that Stopes spent the last years of her life writing poetry. The BBC declined to mention, however, that in August 1939, just a month before Britain went to war with Nazi Germany, she sent a collection of these to Adolph Hitler, accompanied by a note reading,

“Dear Herr Hitler, Love is the greatest thing in the world: so will you accept from me these (poems) that you may allow the young people of your nation to have them?” In 1935 Stopes attended the International Congress for Population Science in Berlin, sponsored by the Nazi regime.

In her 1920 book “Radiant Motherhood” Stopes called for the “sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood (to) be made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory.” She also heavily criticised the abolition of child labour for the lower classes.

Following Stopes’ death in 1958, a large part of her personal fortune went to the Eugenics Society, the organisation that lives today as the Galton Institute. The Galton Institute continues to promote eugenics through artificial reproduction techniques such as in vitro fertilisation, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and direct manipulation of human beings, and their genome, at the embryonic stage. info..

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