"A born writer, especially a born story-teller. Dr. Sutherland, who is distinguished in medicine, is an amateur in the sense that he only writes when he has nothing better to do. But when he does, it could hardly be done better." G.K. Chesterton.
March 17, 2021 will mark the centenary of Britain’s first family planning clinic at 61 Marlborough Road, Holloway, London. The Mothers’ Clinic gave poor and working-class women ready access to contraceptives for the first time. Funded by Dr. Marie Stopes and her second husband, Humphrey Roe, it provided instruction in birth control and supplied contraceptive devices free of charge to the women who went there.
If previous anniversaries are anything to go by, there will be celebratory events, promotional films and “advertorial” in British national newspapers. Speeches will praise Stopes and Roe for paving “the way to our reproductive freedom, seven years before women were given the vote.” In addition, and with righteous indignation, they may call out the Catholic opponents of Stopes’ work.
While this triumphal progressive narrative is appealing to many, it is factually deficient. Dr. Stopes’ and Mr. Roe’s clinic was nothing less than the implementation of eugenic breeding in Britain, aimed at breeding out “undesirables.” Dr. Halliday Sutherland’s opposition to it was a rejection of Malthusianism and changes that would turn Britain into a slave state, in which the poor had no purpose other than as workers.
Early next year, the centenary of the opening of the Mothers’ Clinic will occur. Which story will be told? The triumphal progressive narrative of a kindly feminist trying to help her poorer sisters, but bullied by Catholic patriarchs? Which was told the year before, and the year before, and the year before that? Or perhaps, for the very first time, the truth?
As Launcelot said in The Merchant of Venice “… at the length truth will out.” And while it will, it has taken almost one-hundred years to get this short distance. Please would you help the truth by reading the article on Mercatornet and sharing it as widely as possible. And if you do, who knows? We might even change history in March next year!