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Eugenicist Marie Stopes could have name removed from London university

Marie Stopes, a eugenic pioneer and namesake of one of the UK’s largest providers of abortions, could find her name removed from plaques at her former university after renewed interest in her role as a pioneer of eugenics and an alleged racist.

Following pressure from staff and students, a committee of inquiry is investigating the historical links of University College London (UCL) with a number of historical eugenicists, including Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, in addition to Marie Stopes.

The university currently commemorates Stopes – who became a fellow of UCL in 1910 – for her scientific achievements, but questions are being raised as to the appropriateness of this given her many unsavoury views.

Marie Stopes – whose name lives on most famously in the abortion provider, Marie Stopes International – is well-known to have advocated for the state forced sterilisation of what she called the “ever increasing stock of degenerate, feeble-minded and unbalanced…”

Her views on ethnicity and race are also considered deeply problematic. For example, in 1934 she publicly stated that ‘the half-caste’ should be sterilised at birth and she even sent Adolf Hitler love letters.

Geneticist Veronica van Heyningen, President of the Galton Institute – named after Francis Galton, another eugenicist whose views are being questioned – suggested that the university could install plaques explaining the achievements – and the historical wrongs – of a particular scientist. But their names should not be removed, she added.

The abortion provider, Marie Stopes International, has been criticised for continuing Stopes’ own racist and eugenicist legacy due to their abortion provision in developing countries. Last year, a number of their centres were shut down in Niger because they were said to be performing illegal abortions, and in Kenya for illegally promoting abortion.

Clare McCarthy from Right To Life UK said: “It shouldn’t be controversial to say that Marie Stopes was a racist and eugenicist. She believed in the ‘elimination of wasteful lives’.

The only surprising thing is that it has apparently taken UCL so many years to acknowledge her loathsome views.

Questions need to be asked why one of the world’s largest abortion providers – Marie Stopes International – continues to bear her name.

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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