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'Prorace' cervical cap, London, England, 1920-1950

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. This cervical cap is a barrier contraceptive. It sits across the top of the vagina and acts as a barrier to sperm entering the uterus. The trademarked ‘Prorace’ is related to Stopes’ belief in eugenics. This widely held theory in the early 1900s argued selective breeding could remove ‘undesirables’ from society. The ‘Prorace’ cervical cap has a tab for easy removal. It was manufactured by John Bell and Croyden Limited of London.

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Glossary: contraception

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

Glossary: cervical cap

A barrier form of contraception. It consists of a thimble-shaped device which fits tightly over the entrance of the cervix. It blocks sperm from entering the uterus and thereby prevents fertilisation. Popular since the mid-1800s, their use has dropped dramatically in recent years.