Saturday, August 30, 2008

What are they commemorating ?

I`m glad that Fr Ray Blake and Gerald Warnerhave highlighted the forthcoming commemoration of Marie Stopes by means of a special stamp.

The decision is quite extraordinary.

In addition to the other extraordinary points highlighted by the two bloggers, it is also noteworthy that it was Stopes who petitioned M.P.'s to use health clinics to "curtail the breeding of the C3 population".

She called for the "sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood (to) be made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory." (Radiant Motherhood. 1920)

In The Control of Parenthood. 1920, she said:

"Utopia could be reached in my life time had I the power to issue inviolable edicts... (I would legislate compulsory sterilization of the insane, feebleminded) ... revolutionaries ... half castes."

It is difficult for us to appreciate to what extent "the science of eugenics" had taken hold of the "Great and the Good" in the 1920s and 1930s. Unfortunately even after the Second World War when the horrific and unspeakable race policies of the Third Reich were fully uncovered, members of Stopes` organisation still continued to flourish.

It is instructive to look at the lists of membership of the Eugenics Society

Amongst members were The Rt. Hon. Arthur James Balfour, Prime Minister 1902-05 as well as senior member of the War Cabinet in the First World War, Chancellor of Edinburgh University; Chancellor of Cambridge University; and Chairman., Medical Research Council 1924-2.

Another member was Professor Dr. Dugald Baird FRCOG, DPH, BSc, MD of whom Lord David Steel, the architect of the Abortion Act 1967 wrote in his autobiography:

"I was greatly influenced by going to lunch in Aberdeen with Professor Sir Dugald Baird, who persuaded me to accept amendments creating a single socio-medical clause rather than a series of individual categories. This I did ..."