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Soon, the racist anti-Semite Marie Stopes will be on our stamps. Already, eponymous abortionists are menacing pro-life prayer. A mad world, or what?

The wealthy Marie Stopes International is legally threatening the use of rosaries in baby pink and blue

By on Monday, 6 August 2012

Marie Stopes is still held up as a 'Great Briton' in Lefty circles (Photo: PA)

Marie Stopes is still held up as a 'Great Briton' in Lefty circles (Photo: PA)

The Good Counsel Network, which is dedicated to providing advice and support for women contemplating abortion, or who are suffering psychological trauma following an abortion, has been threatened with legal action by Marie Stopes International (MSI).

MSI, of course, is an immensely rich organisation because of the massive number of abortions it carries out, and it can afford very expensive lawyers. Through them, MSI has accused the Good Counsel Network of “intimidating” women going into their abortion facility in London. What particularly annoys them is their daily prayer vigil outside the Marie Stopes abortion facility in Whitfield Street, London. Good Counsel Network says that these “abortuary vigils” give volunteers the opportunity to talk to women who are in crisis pregnancies, but insist that they would not attempt directly to prevent any woman from entering the MSI premises. Among MSI’s complaints is that during their prayer vigils the GCN display rosary beads in “baby pink and blue”: a really under the belt tactic, that. Reminding women contemplating abortion of the existence of babies? Surely not.

Neil Addison, barrister director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, is representing GCN. In his response to a letter from MSI, he says Marie Stopes International is itself indulging in a campaign of intimidation by using its vastly superior financial resources to deploy the law to rid itself of a group that is becoming increasingly embarrassing to the abortion giant. “Let us be blunt,” Addison wrote to MSI’s legal representatives. “Marie Stopes International makes a great deal of money by persuading women to kill their unborn babies and makes no money if women decide to keep their babies.” They are “by no stretch of the imagination a neutral and impartial voice” and have a “substantial financial interest in trying to silence” opposition.

What is interesting is the prominence this organisation still gives to its trademark heroine, Marie Stopes, as though flaunting this woman’s name were in some way a sign that what they do is honourable and of good repute. Marie Stopes is undoubtedly still a heroine of the bien pensant left: so much so that the Royal Mail will, in October, be launching a postage stamp bearing her image. Go to the Guardian website, here, and you will read, under the headline “Marie Stopes is one of the Great Britons”, how last year the BBC announced its viewers’ “Greatest Britons” (evidence, perhaps, of the PR skills employed to get her into that list). Marie Stopes International, we are told, “derives its name from a remarkable lady who made it into the top 100”.

“Women,” asks this Guardian website piece, “can you imagine your body being the property of your husband?” [if not, I am tempted to interject, try reading that huge women’s bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey]. “Being permanently pregnant through ignorance? Then thank Dr Marie Stopes. The lifestyle and personal fulfilment enjoyed by British women today owes more than many realise to this remarkable character…

“She founded Britain’s first family planning centre in 1921, published numerous articles and spoke extensively on the subject throughout the rest of her life. Determined, single-minded, relishing challenge and controversy, with staggering self-confidence and an outrageous talent for publicity, Marie Stopes succeeded in improving the quality of life for countless women, couples and families. She was and is truly a Great Briton.”

Really? A “Great Briton”? Well, not quite: on the contrary, this was a truly repulsive human being. For a start, let me tell you, if you didn’t know already, about that family planning centre she opened in 1921. Later the same year she founded the “Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress”, as a support organisation for the clinic. That name is, of course, a dead give-away. The clinic’s purpose was to prevent the birth of so many of the racially inferior working class, of those she described as “the inferior, the depraved, and the feeble-minded”. That’s why her clinics were founded in poor areas. Her slogan was: “Joyful and Deliberate Motherhood, A Safe Light in our Racial Darkness.” She believed, as she wrote in her book Radiant Motherhood (1920), that “the sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood [should be] made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory.” She contributed a chapter to The Control of Parenthood (1920), which was a sort of manifesto for her circle of eugenicists, arguing for a “utopia” to be achieved through “racial purification”.

Her ideas on racial purity included a rabid anti-Semitism. She admired Hitler and sent him, with a gushing letter, a copy of a slim volume of love poems she had written; in 1935 she attended the Nazi-sponsored International Congress for Population Science in Berlin. Her anti-Semitism was noted disapprovingly by other pioneers of the birth control movement such as Havelock Ellis. She was also anti-Catholic and anti-Russian; the following poetic gem was produced in 1942:

Catholics, Prussians,
The Jews and the Russians,
All are a curse,
Or something worse…

At least, by 1942, she realised that for an Englishwoman publicly to continue to admire German militarism wasn’t very clever; but her anti-Semitism and her racism were unmodified.

Back to the organisation which so proudly bears her name: the most admirably expressed comment about both of them that I have seen in the papers (well, online, actually) was, as so often and on so many subjects, by the estimable Peter Hitchens, who under the headline “Abortion and its repellent heroine”, wrote that “Marie Stopes International (which receives about £25 million a year from the NHS, much of it for killing unborn babies under contract) should be allowed to advertise its repellent services on TV. But on one condition. That each advertisement is followed by both of these: film of an actual abortion of a 24-week-old baby, and a brief documentary reminding viewers that Marie Stopes sent love poems to Adolf Hitler in August 1939, advocated compulsory sterilisation for the ‘unfit’, and cut her own son out of her will because he married a girl who wore glasses.”

“What sort of organisation,” he concludes, “would name itself after such a monstrous woman?” The unspoken answer — the multi-million-pound group Marie Stopes International — is at present seeking to protect its income by legally threatening an organisation which makes no profits at all, which depends on donations to survive (readers, please note), and whose only aim is to defend the unborn lives of those currently being slaughtered in such vast numbers by such organisations as MSI, an image of whose flagship heroine will shortly be gracing our postage stamps. Truly, it’s a mad, mad world.

  • Bob Hayes

    I quote Marie Stopes from the final paragraph of the last chapter, titled ‘The Creation of a New and Irradiated Race’.

    “[I]t will be the change in attitude of the mother, her voluntary motherhood, the conscious and deliberate creation by the mother and her mate of the fine and splendid race which to-day, as God’s prophet, I see in a vision and which might so speedily be materialized on earth.” (p. 226)

    To think that people who pride themselves on being ‘rational’ admire this delusional racial supremacist.

  • paulsays

    Marie Stopes believed in birth control, she did not however believe in abortion. Only the laziest bit of research would have told you that Mr. Oddie, so why not mention the fact? Because it wouldn’t fit in with your narrative?

    I’m not saying that Marie Stopes was the nicest of women, nor saying that she was no racist, or anti-religious, however, she cannot be accused of supporting abortion.

    Mrs. Stopes once described abortion as ‘murder’, and she forbade her clinic nurses from ‘impart(ing) any information or lend any assistance whatsoever to any person calculated to lead to the destruction in utero of the products of conception.’

    Stopes also wrote to the Courier-Mail of Brisbane in 1938, saying, “I was glad you gave space to the fact that the Queensland Medical Association is planning “an extensive educational campaign against the evil of abortion.” The majority of married women do not realise the frightful injury they do to themselves and to their possible future children by an abortion.”

    When Stopes found that an abortion and birth-control clinic was being run under her name – she had the owner arrested and imprisoned.

  • paulsays

     Atheist does not mean left or right wing. It means non-belief in a God. The deceased Christopher Hitchens perhaps the worlds most famous atheist, did not agree with abortion.

  • AdamThomson1560

    Quoting again from Wikipedia : “When it came to her notice that one of Avro Manhattan’s woman friends had had an abortion, Stopes accused him of “murdering” the child.” That suggests a view very different from yours.

  • W Oddie

    It doesn’t alter my argument in the slightest. It’s irrelevant. 

  • JabbaPapa

    1) When I say “most contemporary atheists”, this means that I do NOT mean “all atheists”

    2) Of course it doesn’t mean left wing or right wing !!!! No more than Christian or Catholic or Muslim or agnostic do !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    Well at least you have a sense of humour


  • JabbaPapa

    Thanks for this contribution to the debate.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    “could it not be because of inadequate maternal health care?”

    Yes. Adequate maternal healthcare would include access to abortion, as of right, for any girl who becomes pregnant and shouldn’t – or doesn’t wish to – have baby.

    ” Is it not significant that Ireland and Malta where abortion is illegal have the lowest rates of maternal deaths in Europe?”

    Ireland’s abortion rate is about 4-5% a year: almost all abortions carried out in England, an unknown percentage illegally in Ireland via purchase of abortifacients. All women in late pregnancy who need abortions for health reasons are advised to “travel” – ie, go to a specialist clinic in Liverpool.

    Women from Malta who need abortions go to Sicily. mainland Italy, or England if they can afford the airfare – Maltese citizens can use the NHS, so get abortions in the UK free of charge.

    Neither country has a “zero abortion rate”, though prolifers claim it for them.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     “In fact, the table column containing the 676 figure is specifically
    labeled “residence”, meaning that it only includes women who resided in

    Uh-huh. Take a look at the column a few to the right. New York State does not report the residence of the women who have abortions there, so the CDC does not know how many of the 676 abortions per 1000 live births are from out-of-staters.

    It’s been the go-to state for women who needed abortions in the US for 40+ years. Lack of abortion provision in many states, especially for late-term abortions, means women have to travel to New York State, and often to NYC, in order to get the healthcare they need.

    I’m willing to believe you’re just muddled about this, though.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    Prolifers don’t like free speech, either.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     The idea that women should only have heterosexual intercourse if they have decided to conceive, and stop having heterosexual intercourse after they’ve had alll the children they intend to have, is … pretty much what Marie Stopes was against when she wrote Married Love>

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    I’m always suspicious of men who bang on about ‘a woman’s right to choose’.

    I’m extremely suspicious of any man who says anything much but “A woman’s right to choose”. If he’s in a good relationship with a woman, she might ask him how he feels and what he wants, but it’s by no means his right even to be consulted, if she knows what she wants: it’s his role to support her, whatever she decides to do.

    Prolife men who think they have a right to control and use women’s bodies because they’ve got a woman pregnant are especially despicable. Unfortunately, some women fall for that.

  • teigitur

    There are indeed hopeful signs in the Church. But I feel thats its not as rosy a picture as you paint.

  • teigitur

      Ido hope they don t ban you. You are so off the wall its very funny.

  • JabbaPapa

    Murder is not “healthcare”.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    That table cell being empty does not mean that the 676 abortions are not know to be from NYC women. If that was the case, they would leave the  NYC “residence” cell empty and would only report numbers for the “occurrence” cell.

    So no, sorry buddy. You still have no reason to attack prolifers.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Oh please. We would be disrespecting you free speech if we had the government censor you.

    But all we want is for _this particular forum_ to tell you to go troll somewhere else.
    And the reason is that you impoverish the debate with Ad hominem attacks, outrageous logical fallacies and rudeness. You are either a troll, or you lack intelligence.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    STOP your straw-men.

    He said *YOU* are a weird extremist. Not all pro-choicers.

  • awkwardcustomer

    Have you no concern what happens to your seed?  I’m assuming that you’re a man, but if not, then I ask ‘pro-life’ men to consider that every time you use a condom you are throwing your precious, life-giving seed down the toilet.  Is it ‘pro-life’ to treat your seed, your gift to the next generation, so carelessly?   

  • JabbaPapa

    I’m extremely suspicious of anyone who says anything resembling “A woman’s right to murder”

  • Julia

    Why do you make such a fuss about Richard Dawkins?

    He is just one person. Admittedly when it comes to biological evolutionary matters he is an outstandingly knowledgeable specialist, and has a remarkable talent of being to explain many details of his complex discipline to the non-specialist reader.

    It is also true that he can express, in equally lucid, well-considered and rational ways, his disbelief in the ancient superstition of theism.  

    But people who are still steeped in this superstition seem to think that those who are not theists regard him as some sort of non-theist Pope. Nothing could be further than the truth. 

    The Rational non-believers of this ancient superstition do not regard his every word about everything as a type of creed, that you should or must believe, because he said it. 

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    Abortion is healthcare. Therefore, it is not “murder”.

    Prolifers deny healthcare to women round the world, and 50,000 women die each year as a result. Prolife is murder.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye


    I respect Marie Stopes for her work to bring birth control to women. I don’t agree with all of her views.

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

     Without me, you wouldn’t be having a “debate”: just a hate-fest celebrating William Oddie’s ad hom attack on Marie Curie.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Will you please stop this “those who are no theists” euphemism? You try to mix yourself with normal atheists, so as to disguise your hate.

    Call yourself anti-theist.

    And even anti-theist is euphemistic. anti-theism is simply “opposition to religion”.

    Most of the anti-theists who troll this forum do more than oppose religion; they actually oppose the human rights (such as freedom of expression and religious freedom) of religious people. So the more honest expression is authoritarian anti-theist.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Also, why do you anti-theists use this childish rhetoric about “fairy tales”, “superstition”, “leprechaunlogy”, “irrational”, etc.

    These words, when used by anti-theists, do not express objective ideas; they are simply an attempt to offend religious people.

    All you do is reinforce the image that anti-theists have no positive proposal to make society better; they only care about picking on religious.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    I do not debate with you; I merely point out your logical fallacies and, instead of responding, you simply hurl yet more fallacies. Your tactic is to make so many false attacks against prolifers that, to a casual observer, it seems that “some of this must be true.”

    Oh, and “hatefest”? I am not the one who wrote a blog post vilifying and demonising pro-lifers, saying that they associated with slavery because some Southern slave-owners happened to forbid abortion in their slaves!

    By your logic, people with mustaches are associated with Nazism and Communism.

    If you had a minimum of intellectual honesty, you would erase that post in shame.

  • Bob Hayes

    ‘Marie Curie’? Oh dear….

  • paulsays

    You have me laughing in my chair here! Sure it isn’t :) That’s why you never replied to my comment… oh wait you just did!

    In your article you make two main complaints. The first is that Marie Stopes is going to be ‘recognized’ by the Royal Mail by creating a run of stamps.
    Your second complaint is of the family planning group ‘Marie Stopes International’ that is suing the ‘Good Counsel Network’ an anti-abortion group, from protesting outside its clinic.

    In writing a single article looking at both complaints you are clearly tying Marie Stopes – to the organization that she founded, and your principle complaint of Marie Stopes in your article – is the abortions that it performs.
    If you had wanted to complain about Marie Stopes being recognized in this way, then surely you should have picked contraception, as she supported its use – as does Marie Stopes International.

    In picking abortion as your principle issue, you make very little logical sense, as Marie Stopes would be on your side – she as you, believe that abortion is murder.
    Sorry to burst your bubble.

  • JabbaPapa

    No true atheist …

  • Conorcrrll

    This is hilarious, you might be able to do research, but clearly not Mathematics. 676 out 1676 is just over 40% so thank you for proving fides to be correct. (check it on a calculator if you dont beleive me). To be precise it is 40.3%

  • Conorcrrll

    In reality what happens is the majority of men are asked by their partner and they say its your choice. What does this do? It takes all responsibility away from the man and puts it all on the woman. That is what is dispicable.

  • Conorcrrll

    Clearly you do not understand Catholic teaching. No one is suggesting that a woman can only have sex on the day they are willing to conceive. you are just throwing out abuse and accusations because you do not understand what is being said.

  • Conorcrrll

    The state also controls my body by stopping me from shooting you in the head, but I dont think you have a problem with that one. Also British Law does not allow for women to abort based upon her desire not to have a child.

  • Jonathan West

    I’ve no idea whether Marie Stopes was antisemitic, either by the standards of today or the standards of when she lived. I haven’t researched it.

    But could somebody please explain what relevance (if any) it has to arguments concerning the morality of either contraception or abortion?

  • Jonathan West

    If you view the source code for the Guardian page, you can see that it is dated 9th February 2011.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    To the soundness of the arguments about abortion? Very little. To the moral assessment of those organizations and individuals who adopt a raging anti-Semite and eugenicist as a hero? Quite a lot.

  • Jonathan West

    Are we then allowed to consider the moral failings of certain past Popes when assessing the moral soundness of Catholic doctrine?

  • Jonathan West

    I hope one day to have the honour of having you also call for my ejection from these forums.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    For a brief, ineffably pleasing moment, may I contemplate the possibility that, by answering ‘no’, I could stop you?

    Moving on:

    1) You are again confusing the assessment of the soundness of an argument or truth of a doctrine with the moral assessment of character. Those who celebrate an evil woman may well have good arguments. They are not, insofar as they celebrate evil, good people.

    2) There is absolutely no doubt that Marie Stopes was an anti-Semite and an eugenicist. The facts of many of the Catholic cases that nu-atheists such as yourself fasten on (eg Pius XII) are heavily contested.

    3) On those clearcut cases of Catholics who have behaved or thought badly no Catholic should celebrate them for their sinfulness: it may be possible that, as with so many of us, their characters were mixed and we should celebrate them *despite *their sinfulness.

    4) One of the complex areas here is that Marie Stopes clear failings are inextricably linked with what ( I presume) the Grauniad reading public would want to celebrate: the policing of human fertility by institutions; the ranking of human beings into those who have worthwhile lives and those who don’t etc. Since many Catholic arguments about the whole contraception/abortion industry centre on its being part of an overall coherent, but evil worldview -the ‘culture of death’- it is pertinent to point out the way in which, in a key figure, these different elements did in fact come together to form a coherent, but evil worldview.

    It’s perfectly reasonable to point out the sinfulness of Catholics as part of an assessment of their moral character. But do get your facts straight when you do this: ‘you’re all paedos and your Pope’s a Nazi’ just makes nu-atheists look even more foolish than usual.

  • Nesbyth

    Edinburgh Eye…I don’t understand where you are coming from at all.

    Women’s bodies belong to themselves and THEY decide whether or not to have an abortion…. ALTHOUGH the state is persuasive, having legislated that this is an acceptable thing to do.

    So, contrary to your “reasoning”, I would say that the state has an influential control over those who wish to abort, whereas the pro-lifers, who challenge the state’s laws and influence, are the ones who do have control over their own bodies and their own beliefs.
    They are not seduced by the generally acceptable view that it’s a good thing to snuff out life in the womb

  • Gypsycook

    So what are atheist opinions? I thought all they did was to disbelieve in the existence of any gods; or are they all mass murderers because Stalin was one,–for political resons.

  • Gypsycook

    I also thought it was Christian Lutherans who were anti-semitic, as swell as Catholics, who consider the Jews “Christ-killers” .  Atheists have no official position on Jews,-or on anything except not believing in God. I know you all hate atheists but please try and be a bit less intolerant.

  • Gypsycook

    As a Doctor I saw the results of illegal backstreet abortions in London. Septic abortions are not very pleasant. This was in the ’60s when the “Pill” was difficult to come by and full of side-effects. Men are often unwilling to use condoms, so the inevitable result is unwanted pregnacies. It is no use saying “women’s bodies belong to themselves” when Prolifers campaign to gain control of the State in order to make abortion illegal; that is what I call women’s bodies being taken over by  the State and owned by it because of being influencd by doctrinnaire theologians who don’t care about women’s rights but only about encouraging overbreeding and overpopulation of unwanted and ofen abused children.

  • Gypsycook

    ” Don’t have sex. “.  Are you serious?  Men and women live in the real world.

  • Gypsycook

    -and what about masturbation?   “Every sperm is sacred”; (I know a song about it).  So ban masturbation, (afterall, it makes you go blind doesn’t it, as well as being a “sin”?),-and install religious police in every boy’s bedroom to keep watch on him. So every sperm has a soul; -or is it a demi-soul? What about all the antecedent cells of the matured spermatozoon in the male genital tract? Do they have complete souls, or immature souls, or does the soul grow along with the maturing sperm, or does God insert the soul (or matured demi-soul) into each sperm prior to ejaculation? Is this the homologue to God (allegedly) inserting a soul into some ancestral hominid during human evolution?
    You know what they say: “Ontogeny repeats phylogeny”. I really,would like to know, and I am sure theologians rather than biologists are the experts who could enlighten us.

  • Gypsycook

    This raises all sorts of philosophical points about identity. A different human being,-yes, but it also half belongs to the man who inseminated her, so his opinions also need to be taken into account, and his rights,-if he actually cares. The implanted fertilized ovum at least half-belongs to the mother, and bears her DNA and occupies her uterus and is supported by her body for 9 long months, and then breast fed (maybe) for months or years afterwards, and then generally supported as it grows up.  I think most mothers would claim that the life inside her and supported by her,-belongs to her, (and the man). It does not belong to either Church or State. If the consequences of getting pregnant, (through human weakness) are a baby born into filth and poverty , neglect, abuse, disease and malnutrition, and maybe malformation as well,-owing to the mother’s poor health, whether from smoking, drugs,AIDS, TB, congential syphylis, gonnorrhoa, herpes genitalis etc, then I think that any compassionate person who was not obsessed with theological points, or the biblical-endorsed ownership of a woman’s body by a 3rd party might consider abortion as at least one merciful option.

  • Gypsycook

    Some people just don’t like to hear contrary opinions which contradict their institutionalized dogmas.

  • Gypsycook

    Why don’t you restore the Index Librorum Prohibitorum and put his writings on that?