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From Marie Stopes International to MSI Reproductive Choices

Tuesday 17 November 2020 Simon Cooke Contraception, Safe abortion and post abortion care, Women's health

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A new name for a new strategy 

Since the opening of our first clinic in 1976, our team members have been united by an unwavering commitment to choice. Our founders knew that by providing high quality, compassionate contraceptive and abortion care, they could support women and girls to have more control over their lives, and in my seven years as CEO I have seen that in action time and time again 

Our new strategy recommits us to these principles and sets out our ambition that by 2030, no abortion will be unsafe and everyone who wants contraception will be able to access it. 

We know this can be achieved but it will require us to work differently and to forge new partnershipsThis year 35 million women and girls will make the agonising decision to have an unsafe abortion, and today more than 230 million women and girls will be unable to access the contraception they want and needIf we continue as we are, by the end of the decade, that number will rise to over 300 million, despite ionly costing 3 cents per day to protect a young woman from an unintended pregnancy for one year. Women and girls are also facing the brunt of other daunting global challenges from the global pandemic and the impact of the climate crisis, to continuing inequality. To confront these challenges and close the gap – once and for all - we need to give women everywhere control over their own lives, by putting choice in all its forms at the centre of everything we do.  

So, as we launch our new strategy MSI 2030 Your Body, Your Choice, Your Future, we are reflecting our fundamental and unwavering commitment in our new name,  

MSI Reproductive Choices. 

Why are we changing? 

Marie Stopes was not our founder. Our organisation was started 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. They named the organisation in recognition of the origins of that historic building and Marie Stopes’ legacy as a pioneer of family planningHowever, Marie Stopes herself was also an advocate of eugenics and expressed opinions which are in stark contrast to MSI’s core values and principles today. 

Although a change had been under discussion for some time, the events of the past year and the critical global conversations about race and diversity have reinforced to us that changing our name now is the right decision.

By retaining the acronym MSI, an established, trusted name in reproductive healthcare,we are able to protect access for women and girls who see our brand and blue door as an emblem of where they can seek a safe service. It also allows us to maintain a connection to our past, to our work over the past 44 years and to our founders, whilst the descriptor Reproductive Choices reflects exactly what we do and states proudly what we stand for.

Our commitments: 

Our new name is the first of many organisational shiftsThrough our new strategy, we are committing to continue challenging existing power structures that perpetuate inequality around the world, by strengthening our advocacy, local partnerships and connections, and elevating the voices of our clients. We are already rooted in the communities where we work and know the benefits that diversity brings, enabling our workforce to be truly global both in location and thought, and we are committed to developing and expanding our national leaders as well as strengthening female representation across our senior leadership. Finally, we recommit to putting our clients and their choices front and centre, with a new approach that will ensure improved quality counselling and care, and greater accountability in measuring and sharing our performance against these objectives. 

Times change, new challenges arise, but our founders’ vision for reproductive choice for all is just as relevant today as it was in 1976. We are determined that, alongside our partners, we will leave no-one behind. Only when choice is a reality for each of us, can we create a better, more sustainable world for everyone. 

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