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Many people know of Dr Marie Stopes: the feminist icon, the scientist, writer and, controversially, and contradictory to our mission, the eugenicist who founded London’s first birth control clinic in 1921.
But arguably less people know about Tim Black and his wife Jean. Fast forward to 1976: the year the pair took over the ailing Mother’s Clinic – the same clinic Marie Stopes established in central London – and founded Marie Stopes International.
Breathing new life into the foundation, they worked tirelessly to establish a social enterprise spanning 37 countries in a global partnership now delivering sexual and reproductive health services to over 18 million women and men a year.
This month we celebrate forty years as Marie Stopes International, and take a moment to reflect upon the unlikely heroes in our story.
Dr Marie Stopes: a proto-feminist and palaeobotanist whose commitment to female sexual and reproductive emancipation will forever be marked by the unconventional pseudo-scientific values she shared with many of her contemporaries.
Dr Tim Black: a man considered a ‘can-doer’ and visionary by many. Through life-changing experiences Black came to see his life-saving role as a doctor in different light. He came to realise that in conditions of scarcity, preventing an unwanted pregnancy could be just as important as saving a life.
He consequently dedicated the rest of his professional life to giving as many women as possible control over if, when and how many children they have.
100 Million People: the number of women and men worldwide that Marie Stopes International has helped since it was founded. We celebrated our 100 millionth client last year.
18 Million People: the number of people we provided vital sexual and reproductive health services to last year alone.
12 Million People: the number of new users of contraception Marie Stopes International has pledged to reach by 2020, as part of a commitment by FP2020 members to reaching 120 million new users worldwide.
You: chances are you’ve benefited in some way from access to contraception, and know from personal experience the importance of being able to plan if, when and how many children you have.
Help us give others that chance. Help us reach 12 million more.
Donate online or call 1300 478 486