Timeline 1900 – 2022

Marie Stopes and the ‘sterilisation of half-castes’

Marie Stopes, the founder of the UK’s first family planning clinic, was a prominent follower of the eugenics movement which believed the human race could be improved by ‘selective breeding’. Like most eugenicists, she believed that race mixing produced ‘inferior stock’ and thus should be prevented. In her 1920 tract The Control of Parenthood she wrote: ‘utopia could be reached in my lifetime, had I the power to issue inviolable edicts… I would legislate compulsory sterilisation of the insane, feeble-minded… revolutionaries… half-castes’.

‘She believes that all half-castes should be sterilised at birth. Thus painlessly and in no way interfering with the individual’s life, the unhappy fate of he who is neither black nor white is prevented from being passed on to yet more unborn babes’

— Australian Women’s Weekly, 19 April 1934, interview with MCS by Muriel Segal in Hall (1977).