Saturday, June 21, 2014

Coerced Sterilization in Virginia

From: Bioedge June 2014

A petty criminal sentenced to become sterile. Commentary from Bioedge:

Perhaps Ms White lacks a sense of history, or she would have sensed the irony of compulsory sterilization in Virginia. In 2002, the 75th anniversary of a notorious Supreme Court decision, Buck v. Bell, Virginia Governor Mark Warner publicly apologized for the state’s past involvement in eugenics. He said, "The eugenics movement was a shameful effort in which state government never should have been involved."

Carrie Buck was a young woman whom the commonwealth of Virginia wanted to sterilise because she came from bad stock. The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ruled, in an 8-1 decision, against Ms Buck. The majority ruling was written in 1927 by the legendary Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, whose imperishable argument was:

“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. Three generations of imbeciles are enough. "

After nearly a century, perhaps the commonwealth of Virginia has come full circle in its attitude toward eugenics. Except that now, two generations seem to be enough.
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