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Marie Stopes: botany and birth control

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 29 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7208
  1. Wendy Moore, freelance writer and author, London
  1. wendymoore{at}

Marie Stopes was born at the end of the 19th century and grew up in the reign of Queen Victoria. Yet her pioneering work in birth control at the beginning of the 20th century marked the start of a sexual revolution that is still unfolding.

Born in Edinburgh in 1880, Stopes was a distinguished botanist who became Britain’s youngest doctor of science in 1905, before she turned her attentions to the sex lives of humans rather than plants. Her own romantic disappointment led her to some startling discoveries. She married a Canadian botanist, Reginald …

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