Discourage or prevent the ‘less fit’ from reproducing
Compulsory sterilization laws
Marriage restrictions, ‘less desirable’ races not allowed to marry ‘more desirable’ races
Havelock Ellis, a socialist in the early 20th century said: ‘The superficially sympathetic man flings a coin to a beggar; the more deeply sympathetic man builds an almshouse for him, so he need no longer beg; the most radically sympathetic of all is the man who arranges that the beggar shall not be born.’
1900-1920: 600,000 - 1,250,000 immigrants per year
Larger numbers of southern and eastern Europeans
Immigration Restriction Act of 1924 limited immigration to 165,000/year, and S and E European groups to 9% of that
First law in 1907, Indiana
Last procedure carried out in 1981
Most commonly targeted: the mentally retarded (“feebleminded”) and the mentally ill
Also targeted under many state laws: deaf, blind, epileptics, physically disabled, and even orphans, homeless, and homosexuals
Some criminals were sterilized in prisons as well.
Over 65,000 individuals were sterilized in 33 states in the US.
Buck vs. Bell (1927)
Test case: Carrie Buck
Supreme Court: "Carrie Buck is the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted, that she may be sexually sterilized without detriment to her general health and that her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization"
“ It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.”
Should immigration into the US be limited?
Should a person ever be prevented from becoming a parent?
If so, what might be some acceptable reasons?
Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/eugenics