Pro-choice author acknowledges historical racism and ableism in the “reproductive rights” movement

British Pro-choice author Fran Amery admits:

The drive for reproductive rights has historically been interwoven with racist and ablest ideologies. Early birth control advocates utilized the language of eugenics in order to legitimize the movement, arguing that unrestrained reproduction would result in “racial decay.” Contraception was figured as a way to prevent the “unfit” from breeding. Margaret Sanger herself gradually shifted away from her initial feminist defense of contraception towards advocacy of contraception as a means to control poor, minority, disabled and immigrant populations.

Similarly, the British contraception campaigner Marie Stopes espoused an outright eugenicist position, advocating against the right to reproduce of the “feebleminded” and “racially negligent” among others. Such moves by contraception advocates lent legitimacy to the forced sterilization campaigns imposed on minority women.

Fran Amery, Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: The Changing Politics of Abortion in Britain (Bristol: Bristol University Press, 2020)p. 24/

One of the largest chains of abortion clinics in Great Britain is named after Marie Stopes.

Editor’s note. This appeared in Clinic Quotes and is posted with permission.

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