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Cervical cap, London, England, 1915-1925

A cervical cap sits over the cervix. It acts as a barrier to sperm entering the uterus. The contraceptive is inserted by a woman before sex. It must be left in place up to six hours afterwards. This rubber cap was supplied by the Mother’s Clinic. Dr Marie Stopes founded the clinic in 1921. It is stamped with the trademarked ‘Racial’. This 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: 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.