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Spermicidal Pessaries, ‘Prorace’ brand, English, 1925-1960

Spermicidal Pessaries, ‘Prorace’ brand, English, 1925-1960

Credits: National Railway Museum

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The ‘Prorace’ brand of contraceptives was developed by Dr Marie Stopes (1880-1958). They were distributed by the Mother’s Clinic, which opened in London in 1921. These contraceptive pessaries contain spermicides to kill sperm. They were used alone or with other contraceptives such as the cap or diaphragm. The pessaries were manufactured by John Bell and Croyden Limited of London. The trademarked ‘Prorace’ related to Stopes’ belief in eugenics. This widely held theory in the early 1900s argued selective breeding could remove ‘undesirables’ from society.

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Glossary: pessary

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Glossary: contraception

The use of methods and techniques to prevent pregnancy from sex.