Marie Stopes International has changed its name to break the perceived connection to the woman whose name it carried.
The charity, which adopted her name when it was founded in 1976 in a building previously used by the Marie Stopes Mothers’ Clinic, has changed its name to MSI Reproductive Choices and unveiled a new 10-year strategy.
It said that although Marie Stopes was a family planning pioneer, she was also a supporter of eugenics and held other views that went against the charity’s values.
Eugenics is the widely opposed belief that the human population can be improved by excluding people who are judged to be inferior from breeding or promoting those deemed superior.
A spokesperson for the charity said its name had been debated for several years and the organisation had embarked on a formal review last year.
Simon Cooke, chief executive of MSI Reproductive Choices, said: “Marie Stopes was a pioneer of family planning; however, she was also a supporter of the eugenics movement and expressed many opinions which are in stark contrast to MSI’s core values and principles.
“The name of the organisation has been a topic of discussion for many years and the events of 2020 have reaffirmed that changing our name now is the right decision.
“As we look to the future with our new 10-year strategy, we are reflecting our fundamental focus in our new name, MSI Reproductive Choices.”
The charity, which provides contraception and safe abortion services in 37 countries, said that by 2030 no abortion would be unsafe and everybody who wants contraception will be able to access it.
It said it wanted to reach at least 120 million women and girls over the next decade as part of the new strategy.