Marie Stopes

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Marie Stopes




Born: Marie Stopes in Edinburgh in 1880.


At the age of eighteen, Marie won a science scholarship at University College, London. Marie was a talented and committed student and in 1901 achieved a double first in botany. She continued her studies and in 1905 she obtained her DSc and became Britain's youngest doctor of Science.

After several unsuccessful love affairs, Marie married Reginald Gates in 1911. Unlike Marie, Reginald held traditional views of how women should behave. He strongly opposed her membership of the Women's Freedom League. The marriage was annuled for non-consummation in 1916.

In her book Married Life, Marie argued that marriage should be an equal relationship between husband and wife. However, she had great difficulty finding a publisher.

It was not until, March 1918, that Marie Stopes found a small company that was willing to take the risk of publishing Married Love. The book was an immediate success, selling 2,000 copies within a fortnight and by the end of the year had been reprinted six times. Married Love was also published in America but the courts declared the book was obscene and it was promptly banned.

In 1918 Stopes wrote a concise guide to contraception called Wise Parenthood. Marie Stopes' book upset the leaders of the Church of England who believed it was wrong to advocate the use of birth control.

Marie Stopes was opposed to chemical methods of contraception, famously saying: "Never put anything in your vagina that you would not put in your mouth!" 

Stopes spent the rest of her life campaigning for the causes she believed in. Much of her time was spent writing articles for her newspaper Birth Control News. Marie also wrote novels and poetry. This included Love's Creation (1928) and Love Songs for Young Lovers (1938).


Marie Stopes died in 1958.

Last Modified: Thursday May 20, 2010


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