Posts tagged sterilization
Based on a task force recommendation, the North Carolina legislature is considering paying $50,000 to living individuals sterilized by the state against their will or without their knowledge. North Carolina reportedly sterilized 7,600 individuals between 1929 and 1974. However, other American states also passed laws legalizing sterilization; the first was passed in Indiana in 1907 with the intent of giving prison inmates vasectomies as a way to prevent the transmission of “degenerate traits.”
In 1914, eugenicist Harry Laughlin published a Model Eugenical Sterilization Law that proposed to authorize More >
A North Carolina-based charity’s initiative to pay drug and alcohol abusers to be sterilized or choose long-term birth control (IUD) has popped up recently in my Google “eugenics” news alert. Once an addict proves they have had a procedure to prevent pregnancy, they are given $300. Several thousand individuals have participated in the program in the US. The group argues that the policy will prevent the birth of children that will likely become a societal burden or at the very least be raised in an unstable environment. Those who oppose the initiative argue that often addicts get clean with the More >
Recently a campaign by a Georgia anti-abortion group featured billboards that depicted a black baby and the text “Black children are an endangered species.” [See this Associated Press article.] As you may imagine, the billboards were instantly controversial and provoked heated discussion among abortion-rights and anti-abortion activists. Motivated by the desire to promote an agenda, the group that initiated the campaign argued that abortion is linked to race, and has been since the founding of Planned Parenthood by Margaret Sanger in the early 1900s. Others say they are trying to bait African Americans into opposing abortion through shame and fear.
Population More >
Recently, a 35-year-old woman sued a Boston-area hospital for performing a tubal ligation, thus sterilizing her, after the birth of her 9th child. Tessa Savicki states that she requested an IUD, a reversible form of birth control. Because two of her children are on welfare and she is unemployed, Tessa’s case has sparked passionate reactions and brings to mind the case of Carrie Buck.
The similarities are numerous. A poor woman sterilized against her wishes, judged by others to be unfit (just read the public comments on the news sites featuring Tessa’s story), and having children out of wedlock. There is More >
Francis Galton, the English scientist who coined the term, defined eugenics as “the agencies under social control that improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally.” Charles Davenport, the father of the American eugenics movement called it simply “the self direction of human evolution.”
These definitions stress differences that occupied either end of a continuum of eugenics practice. At one end, Galton’s definition stressed social control, or laws, to control human reproduction. At the other end, Charles Davenport’s stressed an individual’s own control over their reproduction. Social control ultimately embodied “negative eugenics”– limiting mixed race marriages, More >
The Nobel announcements always get people buzzing here at CSHL. This week was particularly exciting because Carol Greider, one of the Physiology or Medicine winners, graced the Lab campus for some years. As another example of science leaked into the mainstream, I learned about a NOVA dramatization on Charles Darwin, as well as a theatrical movie that initially didn’t make it to the US due to its controversial inclusion of the creationism debate.
As someone who only has one foot in this science world, I’ve wondered how those outside it look on at the celebrations and science story telling. Do they More >
Are these fair characterizations? Decide for yourself by exploring several topic areas in the Eugenics Archive that may sound as if they were discussed at the latest town hall meeting: Birth and Population Control, German/Nazi Eugenics, and Sterilization Laws. Once in the Archive, choose to browse by topic to read the topic essays and view the associated images.