It’s easy to think of Marie Stopes as the UK’s Margaret Sanger and that’s correct up to a point. The difference is that while Sanger remained at least somewhat vague about her thoughts on using eugenics to wipe out ethnic minorities and the disabled, even though she focused much of her early “attentions” on Jews and Italians, then considered the unfit races of the day, and spoke glowingly of eugenics, Marie Stopes was a version of her who never saw a need for restraint.
How much worse was Marie Stopes than Margaret Sanger? Marie Stopes sent one of her books to Hitler with a personal note and wrote poems like these, “Catholics, Prussians, The Jews and the Russians, Are all a curse, Or something worse.”
Stopes was rather obsessed with sterilizing those she considered “unfit”. And what made a man or woman, “unfit”? Wearing glasses would do it. And she disinherited her son because he married a woman who wore glasses, or as she put it.
“I have the horror of our line being so contaminated and little children with the misery of glasses… Mary and Harry (her son) are quite callous about both the wrong to their children, the wrong to my family and the eugenic crime.”
Now with all that you would assume that Marie Stopes has long ago been buried away in some obscure corner of history, only to be occasionally dug up by right wing provocateurs looking to denounce a woman who no longer matters. And you would almost be correct, except for the part where the Marie Stopes Society functions like Planned Parenthood in the UK and abroad.
Marie Stopes International has 629 centers around the world from New Guinea to Pakistan, Mexico, Ghana and Washington D.C. None of them however will bother to explain who Marie Stopes was.