Later work and legacy
Other books followed, including Radiant Motherhood, in which she advocated the sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood to be made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory. During her life, Stopes increasingly identified with the eugenics movement, although her actions were belied by her compassion towards the many women to whom she wrote personally when they asked for advice. However, in 1921, the same year that she opened her first family planning clinic, she joined the Eugenics Society - an association making her a problematic heroine for the modern era.
1923 was another busy year for Marie. Her play, Our Ostriches, concerning the plight of working class women who constantly bear children, was put on at the Royal Court and ran for a successful 91 well-attended performances; a film called Maisie’s Marriage, based on Married Love was also released that year. Less happily, she sued Halliday Sutherland, a doctor, for libel concerning the contraceptive cap – and lost. The legal costs were huge.
In 1925, needing a larger site, the clinic moved to Whitfield Street, just off Tottenham Court Road and Marie was a tireless fundraiser. She died in 1958, aged 77, of breast cancer, after opening several clinics across Britain. Today, Whitfield Street remains the central London site for women’s healthcare charity Marie Stopes UK.