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Rubber vault cap, London, England, 1915-1925

Contraceptive caps are also called cervical, vault or diaphragm caps. They are barrier contraceptives. The Mother’s Clinic supplied it to women. The clinic opened in 1921. Contraceptive caps sit over the cervix. They act as a barrier to sperm entering the uterus. This ‘Racial’ brand of cervical cap was modified by Dr Marie Stopes (1880-1958). The trademarked ‘Racial’ related to Stopes’ belief in eugenics. This widely held theory in the early 1900s argued selective breeding could remove ‘undesirables’ from society. Stopes founded the Society for Constructive Birth Control. She opened the first of her birth control clinics in Holloway, North London in 1921. She is best remembered as a feminist and a birth control pioneer.

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Glossary: contraception

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

Glossary: vault cap

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