This week, Marie Stopes International marks 40 Years of providing women all over the world with the services they need to have children by choice, not chance.
In 1976, when our organisation was founded, few women in the developing world were able to access contraception to prevent unplanned pregnancy. In many countries, women regularly died in childbirth, while others were left facing significant economic and social disadvantages because they didn’t have reproductive choice.
Marie Stopes International was founded around one central principle: every woman has the right to have children by choice, not chance. Our founders knew that the interventions to prevent an unplanned pregnancy - information on contraception, access to contraceptive methods, safe abortion and post-abortion family planning - are inexpensive and cost-effective.
Once services have been established in a country, and women start to see the benefits for themselves and their families, they then demand their reproductive rights.
Forty years on, Marie Stopes International is at the forefront of the global drive to give women and girls choice and control over their lives and futures. Right now, 21 million women in 37 countries are using contraception provided by us so that they can have the life that they want, whether that means completing their studies, starting a career, or providing better care for their families.
We have come a long way in 40 years, but we there is so much more to do. As the largest generation of young people in history approach their reproductive years, we will need to redouble our efforts to meet the increasing demand for our services. We remain committed to bringing choice to women, wherever they are.