Today, leading UK abortion provider Marie Stopes UK is putting choice front and centre with a new name – MSI Reproductive Choices.
London, Tuesday, 17th November 2020
The new name, which forms part of a wider change by its parent organisation, formerly known as Marie Stopes International, breaks with its connection to Marie Stopes, the woman and reflects the global organisation’s bold new vision for the future: that by 2030, no abortion will be unsafe and everyone who wants contraception will be able to access it.
Simon Cooke, CEO for MSI Reproductive Choices said: “Marie Stopes was a pioneer for family planning; however, she was also a supporter of the eugenics movement and expressed many opinions, which are in stark contrast to MSI’s core values and principles.
“The name of the organisation has been a topic of discussion for many years and the events of 2020 have reaffirmed that changing our name is the right decision. As we look to the future, we are reflecting our fundamental focus in our new name, MSI Reproductive Choices.”
MSI was founded in 1976 by Dr Tim Black, Jean Black and Phil Harvey, who opened their first clinic on the site of the original Marie Stopes’ Mothers Clinic in central London, naming the organisation in recognition of the origins of the building and Marie Stopes’ pioneering work in family planning.
Cooke added: “Our founders believed that by providing high quality, compassionate and comprehensive contraceptive and abortion care, they could support women’s empowerment, and their vision of reproductive choice for all is just as relevant today as it was in 1976.
“This decade has opened with many uncertainties, but what we can be sure of is that the need for sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights will remain universal and urgent. The international community is failing the 25 million women who each year have no choice but to resort to an abortion that is unsafe, and the 230 million women and girls who want access to contraception but can’t get it.
If no additional action is taken, the number of women and girls with no access could increase to 300 million by 2030, yet it costs less than 2 pence per day to protect a young woman from an unintended pregnancy, giving her the chance to stay in school, forge a career, support her family or even save her life.”
Innovating to deliver choice in the UK
The new name also reflects MSI’s commitment to choice in all its forms right here in the UK, where despite being a pro-choice nation, stigma continues to leave many feeling judged, shamed or silenced.
Richard Bentley, MSI Reproductive Choices UK Managing Director said: “We are part of a global organisation that sees the impact of choice on women’s lives every day and that is just as true here in the UK, where throughout the pandemic our teams have worked around the clock to keep services open for everyone who needs them.
“Our commitment to choice extends beyond the fundamental belief in a woman’s right to choose, to supporting them to exercise that right free from harassment and abuse in a way that suits their health needs and preferences. I am proud to be putting choice front and centre of our name.”
In many parts of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted access to contraception and abortion services. However, following the first national lockdown in the UK, MSI worked closely with the Government to remove policy barriers and introduce telemedicine to help prevent unnecessary exposure to the virus.
Since April, this highly rated telemedicine service, has enabled more than 12600 women to have a phone consultation and take both sets of abortion pills at home, resulting in safer, more private care at earlier stages of pregnancy.
Following new research revealing more than a third (36%) of UK women were unsure how to access contraception during the pandemic, the leading abortion provider has also launched its first two standalone contraceptive clinics to ensure women have access to the most effective long acting methods including the coil and implant.
Caroline Gazet, UK clinical director for MSI Reproductive Choices said:
“Throughout my career as a doctor, I have seen the power that access to reproductive choice has. From protecting women who will go to any lengths to end an unintended pregnancy, to the opportunities available for young people when they can access stigma-free contraceptive services.
“With women and girls in the UK facing daunting challenges including continuing inequality and the fallout from the global pandemic, there is a long road ahead, but the choice in our name is a promise to anyone who needs our services that we are here to support you to access the care you need on your terms.”
Notes to Editors
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About MSI Reproductive Choices
MSI is a global organisation providing contraception and safe abortion services to women and girls in 37 countries. We believe that every woman and girl must determine her own future, and the high-quality services we provide give a woman the power to pursue her dreams for herself and her family.