The Sims vaginal speculum, along with other gynaecological instruments, was used in the 1960s by Dr Geoffrey Davis, who specialised in abortion. Until abortion became lawful in New South Wales in 1971, the procedure was usually discreetly carried out by medical specialists in consulting rooms or clinics in the city. Dr Davis had clinics in two Sydney suburbs, Potts Point and Arncliffe
Originally trained as an anaesthetist, Dr Davis is well known, in Sydney and internationally, for his involvement with the termination of pregnancy. As well as opening the clinics in Sydney in the 1960s Dr Davis worked with Population Services International, the International Fertility Research Program, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation in developing countries such as Bangladesh and India.
Abortion has been used by most cultures throughout history as a way of controlling fertility. In the late 20th/ early 21st century it is the most frequently performed surgical operation in the world. The Sims speculum from a prominent advocate and practitioner of pregnancy termination, along with the other instruments from his clinics, form a significant component of the Powerhouse Museum's collection of birth control material.