Bio-ethics: June 2007 Archives

Eugenics Today

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Logos, a journal I'm not familiar with, came under my radar recently with two articles on modern day eugeics.

  • Kurt Jacobsen looks at the history of eugenics in America and exposes it in its modern guise. One of his themes is that scientists and physicians tend to favor eugenic policies much more than layfolk. That comes as no surprise, but did you know that as recently as 1982 a survey found that half of physicians questioned approved of "sterilization for the feeble minded and for criminals"?
  • Beth Burrows reviews two books related to eugenics' most common modern form - killing the "unfit" in the womb. The first gives us the perspective of the mothers - it's a collection of stories written by women who carried their babies to term despite pressure to abort:
    These are women who opted to keep their babies and to welcome them, no matter how potentially strange, unfamiliar, or short-lived. In some accounts, the dire predictions of others turned out to be true; in others, they did not. Whatever the political axe one might suspect was being ground by the selector of the stories, each mother clearly finds joy and meaning in her newborn's life. These are not people seeking approval or wallowing in victimhood. As Teresa Streckfuss insists in the third chapter, “...(D)on’t pity us for carrying a child we know will die...Grieve for the fact that our baby will die. We wouldn’t wish away the time we had with Benedict,. . .just to save us the pain of losing (him). . . Someone asked us after Benedict died, ‘Was it worth it?’ Oh yes! For the chance to hold him, and see him, and love him before letting him go. For the chance for our children to see that we would never stop loving them, regardless of their imperfections? For the chance to give him everything we could? Oh yes!”

    The second book reviewed gives us the perspective of those whom the eugenicists would eliminate - a lawyer severely disabled since birth reflects on the joys she's experienced because she was allowed to live.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Bio-ethics category from June 2007.

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