Eugenics: Making a Comeback?
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 28, 2001
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.
During the last century, upwards of 66,000 people considered "defective" -- those with mental retardation, mental illness, criminal histories, physical disabilities -- are documented to have been sterilized in the United States, Canada and other Western countries. It was all part of a popular movement called eugenics.
And most of it was done legally.
"The rationale was, if these people have become wards of the state because they're genetically defective ... (it makes) most economic sense to sterilize and cut off these problems at the source," explains Garland Allen, a professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis.
Most of the mandatory sterilization laws written before World War Two were overturned by the 1970's, as more states began to recognize the rights of people with disabilities.
Does that mean we no longer have to worry about eugenics?
Perhaps not, some suggest, according to an article in Monday's Wired magazine.
"As a country, we have not outgrown bigotry, nor our regular desire to find scapegoats for economic conditions, nor the need to enlist science as the panacea for social conditions," said Paul Lombardo, an attorney and director at the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia.
Here is a link to the first of two parts, "BLAMING THE 'DEFECTIVE' PEOPLE" PART ONE: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,42567,00.html
"BLAMING THE 'DEFECTIVE' PEOPLE" PART TWO: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,42567-2,00.html
Readers who are not familiar with the American Eugenics Movement, can learn more from the Eugenics Archive from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's DNA Learning Center: http://vector.cshl.org/eugenics
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