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Leaflet produced by Marie Stopes promoting condom use

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Aimed at married women, this leaflet by Marie Stopes (1880-1958) provides advice on spacing babies for health by using condoms or ‘sheaths’. It also advertises condoms in a pack of three for one shilling. However, a bulk discount price was offered to doctors. The leaflet was printed by The Mother’s Clinic of the Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress. A pioneer in the field of family planning, Marie Stopes opened her headquarters clinic in 1921 in London. There were other clinics in Aberdeen, Belfast, Cardiff and Leeds. They supplied free help and advice on sexual matters. Stopes campaigned for effective birth control for women. However, her activities and views were deeply unpopular with some sections of society. The term ‘racial progress’ alludes to the theory called eugenics. Stopes supported eugenics because she thought the ‘quality’ of society could be improved by breeding out negative inherited traits. Eugenics was once widely popular. However, it is forever tainted by its associations with the racial policies of Nazi Germany.

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Glossary: leaflet

Use for small printed works consisting of one sheet folded and not stitched or bound. For larger printed works, but generally of fewer than 80 pages, often with paper covers, use "pamphlets."

Glossary: contraception

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

Glossary: obstetrics

A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.