Communications Officer Rebekah Moffett comments on Marie Stopes International’s recent decision to change its name.
Abortion giant Marie Stopes International has this week announced it is changing its name to MSI Reproductive Choices – all because it wants to distance itself from the links that its namesake, Marie Stopes, had with eugenics.
While the name change follows the trend of rushing to remove the names of anyone associated with racist ideologies or, indeed, any ideology we deem ‘less favourable’ these days, the worrying thing in MSI Reproductive Choices’ case is that it fails to recognise the irony of the eugenicist nature of abortion and the very admission of it in its new name.
Who was Marie Stopes?
Born in Edinburgh in 1880, Marie Stopes is a well-known controversial historical figure. Aside from writing a sex manual for women and campaigning widely for birth control, she also enjoyed a correspondence with Adolf Hitler and chiefly believed in the creation of a ‘super race’ (eugenics).
Ironically, despite the abortion provider using her name, Marie Stopes herself was publicly opposed to the practice of abortion.
Of course, one wonders exactly what ‘MSI’ stands for in the abortion provider’s new name, if not for ‘Marie Stopes International’. MSI Reproductive Choices – not the catchiest of names – at the very least still implies a link to Marie Stopes. So what exactly do they think they’ve achieved by simply abbreviating it?
The eugenicist nature of abortion
The real issue at the heart of the name change, however, is that abortion is a eugenicist practice. In our Abortion Discriminates series, we demonstrate how abortion is racist, sexist, ableist and anti-male in nature. Arguably, its main aim is to ‘get rid of’ any child that presents as ‘less than perfect’ or is ‘unwanted’ in the womb – supporting the idea that there are ‘superior’ humans.
In fact, it is well-known that sex-selective abortion takes place in the UK: back in 2012, the Daily Telegraph recorded a doctor offering to arrange an abortion for a woman simply because the baby wasn’t a boy. Yet the doctor in question was not stopped from practising medicine or performing abortions. We supported Aisling Hubert in her attempt to legally prosecute two doctors involved in sex-selective abortions – however this case was dropped by the CPS as it did not believe it was ‘in the public interest’ to prosecute. (Seemingly, the CPS also agrees with eugenics.)
Similarly, abortions have been allowed to take place for many years based on disability. Some 90% of pregnancies are aborted after the baby is found to have Down’s syndrome in the UK – some predict that if this trend continues, Down’s syndrome will soon become ‘extinct’.
As Dave Brennan, director of the Brephos Project UK, posted on Twitter:
“How are the views of Marie Stopes, eugenicist, supposed to be in “stark contrast” to the values of Marie Stopes International, which still kills babies for having Downs Syndrome?”
By extension, and on many occasions before, MSI Reproductive Choices has been shown to be eugenicist in nature. Notably, when the Christian Legal Centre supported the One of Us initiative, a brief sent to the EU Court of Justice showed exactly how the abortion provider supports eugenics:
“The opening sentence of MSI annual report for 2010 can be understood in light of this philosophy: ‘Marie Stopes International delivers quality family planning and reproductive healthcare to millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women’. Though many of its members are probably unaware of it, the fact that MSI has relatively recently chosen to be named after Marie Stopes and kept this name since 1991 reveals its philosophy: it is clearly eugenic. It aims at eradicating poverty by eliminating the poor, by preventing maternity. The Companies Acts 1985 and 1989 (attached by MSI to its application) show that the present aim of the company is directly in line with Marie Stopes’ principles, put in acceptable language: ‘(ii) to educate the public about population growth and control particularly about family planning, birth control and contraceptives with a view to preventing the poverty, hardship and distress caused by unwanted conception’.”
‘Choice’ allows for eugenics
Ironically, the organisation hasn’t moved away at all from links to eugenics in its new name. The fact that it now openly supports abortion by ‘choice’ demonstrates the organisation’s aim to allow abortion on demand, for any reason.
As Kevin Duffy, a former Marie Stopes International director, stated on Twitter:
“Most interesting bit of this is the choice by Marie Stopes to use the word ‘choice’ in its new name. Its strategy has never been about necessary healthcare but always about choice.”
So committed is MSI Reproductive Choices to ‘helping’ women get abortions for any reason, that they will try to squeeze it into law any which way they can. In fact, in our recent ‘mystery client’ survey, Marie Stopes International told our mystery client,
“It is indeed legal to request an abortion by choice, it certainly is. But we need to categorise it as per the Abortion Act.”
This isn’t true. Our ‘mystery client’ was attempting to obtain abortion pills because she didn’t want to be pregnant while on holiday. This is not a legal reason to get an abortion.
“It seems that these independent sector abortion service providers are operating as if abortion is legal in Great Britain on demand by the woman, as a matter of her choice. Legal certification is simply a tick-box exercise for 98% of all abortions performed in this country, rather than it being the proper means of governing legal access to a contested healthcare service.”
Perhaps Marie Stopes International – sorry, MSI Reproductive Choices – is now just openly admitting its illegal workings?