Our history

“You have transformed the lives of women, men and children in the UK.”


Free contraception for all; sexual health services from the NHS; abortion rights – we have helped achieve them all.

2017 – anniversaries and looking to the future

In 2017 we've marked the 50th anniversary of two 1967 Acts – the Abortion Act and the Family Planning Act – that were instrumental in securing the reproductive rights and choices we have today.

But we're looking forwards not backwards.

We were delighted when the government announced in March that from 2019 in England, children and young people will receive relationships education in primary school and relationships and sex education (RSE) at secondary school.

And we applaud the landmark decision to fund abortion care for women from Northern Ireland travelling to England. But we will continue to fight for abortion law reform in Northern Ireland as well as the decriminalisation of abortion across the UK so that women can access healthcare free from the threat of prosecution.

2015 – We turned 85

We've achieved a lot in our 85 years but there is still lots more to do.

As part of our celebrations we launched FPA Pleasure a website about sexual pleasure and wellbeing.

2014 – We celebrated 40 years of free contraception!

When we started in 1930, there were just 20 family planning clinics, knowledge of contraception was limited to those who had money, and good information and open discussion about sexual health was practically non-existent.

1974 was a landmark year – contraception became free for all and our network of over 1,000 family planning clinics was handed over to the NHS. Family planning was now part of the health service – and has remained there ever since.

Today we take access to free contraception for granted, but we can't be complacent. Funding cuts, changes to policy, and extremist opposition mean our hard won sexual health rights could be taken away. We can't let that happen. Our XES - We Can't Go Backwards campaign is speaking up for sexual health.

More key dates in our history

2010 – FPA celebrated 80 years

Postcard produced for Contraceptive Awareness Week 2005

Today the right to enjoy sexual relationships, free from pregnancy, is taken for granted yet when FPA was first formed in 1930 access to contraception and family planning advice were hard to find unless you had money.

We set up over 1,000 family planning clinics which were handed over to the NHS in the 1970s, marking a landmark event when contraception became free for all.

In the last decade FPA has extended its remit to providing information, help and advice for a wide range of sexual health issues including sexually transmitted infections, reproductive rights including abortion, sex and relationships education and, increasingly, help and support around sexual pleasure and wellbeing.

What we achieved in our first 80 years