By Paul A. Lombardo
In 1907, Indiana handed the world's first involuntary sterilization legislation in keeping with the speculation of eugenics. In time, greater than 30 states and a dozen overseas nations swimsuit. even supposing the Indiana statute was once later declared unconstitutional, different legislation proscribing immigration and regulating marriage on "eugenic" grounds have been nonetheless in influence within the U.S. as overdue because the Seventies. A Century of Eugenics in the US assesses the background of eugenics within the usa and its prestige within the age of the Human Genome undertaking. The essays discover the early help of obligatory sterilization through medical professionals and legislators; the implementation of eugenic schemes in Indiana, Georgia, California, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Alabama; the criminal and social demanding situations to sterilization; and the customers for a eugenics flow basing its claims on sleek genetic technological know-how.
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Additional resources for A Century of Eugenics in America: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era (Bioethics and the Humanities)
Supporters believed it would allow the state to resolve its “degenerate problem” and become a national model of social reform. Sharp even wrote an instructional pamphlet on vasectomy that he distributed around the country as he gave public talks on the need for sterilization. Sharp’s expert opinion was sought for testimony in legal cases about sterilization. ”22 The eugenics cadre worked hard to safeguard their pet reform. To deflect attention from Sharp’s early extralegal surgeries, W. H. Whittaker promised Governor Hanley that only inmates sentenced to Jeffersonville after the law’s passage would be candidates for sterilization.
Amos Butler of the Board of State Charities, John N. Hurty of the State Board of Health, and Sharp’s superior, William H. 15 Sharp first performed vasectomies on prisoners for therapeutic, not eugenic, effects. He intended to curb sexual activity, specifically masturbation, which scientists linked to general degeneracy and insanity. In 1907, the reform cadre decided to validate Sharp’s experimental vasectomy practice, but relied on eugenic arguments to drive the legisla- 30â•… · â•… J a s o n S .
It is clear that at his death Dr. Sharp did not see Ochsner’s suggestion or his own advocacy as immoral, although both used or urged involuntary means of carrying out a social experiment for which evidence was inadequate or disputable at the time. Nevertheless, it is too easy to dismiss Oscar McCulloch, David Jordan, and Harry Sharp as misguided zealots, elitists bent on perverting “honest science” into pseudoscience in the name of social control. These men were not monsters, and the parts they played are not roles in a simple morality play where history and circumstance can be portrayed as the clash of pure good and absolute evil.