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Eugenics – New World Encyclopedia

Eugenics is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through various forms of intervention. The purported goals have variously been to create healthier, more intelligent people, save society’s resources, and lessen human suffering.

Earlier proposed means of achieving these goals focused on selective breeding, while modern ones focus on prenatal testing and screening, genetic counseling, birth control, in vitro fertilization, and genetic engineering. Opponents argue that eugenics is immoral and is based on, or is itself, pseudoscience. Historically, eugenics has been used as a justification for coercive state-sponsored discrimination and human rights violations, such as forced sterilization of persons with genetic defects, the killing of the institutionalized and, in some cases, genocide of races perceived as inferior. Today, however, the ideas developed from eugenics are used to identify genetic disorders that are either fatal or result in severe disabilities. While there is still controversy, some of this research and understanding may prove beneficial.

The word eugenics etymologically derives from the Greek words eu (good) and gen (birth), and was coined by Francis Galton in 1883.

The term eugenics is often used to refer to movements and social policies that were influential during the early twentieth century. In a historical and broader sense, eugenics can also be a study of “improving human genetic qualities.” It is sometimes broadly applied to describe any human action whose goal is to improve the gene pool. Some forms of infanticide in ancient societies, present-day reprogenetics, preemptive abortions, and designer babies have been (sometimes controversially) referred to as eugenic.

Eugenicists advocate specific policies that (if successful) would lead to a perceived improvement of the human gene pool. Since defining what improvements are desired or beneficial is, by many, perceived as a cultural choice rather than a matter that can be determined objectively (by empirical, scientific inquiry), eugenics has often been deemed a pseudoscience. The most disputed aspect of eugenics has been the definition of “improvement” of the human gene pool, such as what comprises a beneficial characteristic and what makes a defect. This aspect of eugenics has historically been tainted with scientific racism.

Early eugenicists were mostly concerned with perceived intelligence factors that often correlated strongly with social class. Many eugenicists took inspiration from the selective breeding of animals (where purebreds are valued) as their analogy for improving human society. The mixing of races (or miscegenation) was usually considered as something to be avoided in the name of racial purity. At the time this concept appeared to have some scientific support, and it remained a contentious issue until the advanced development of genetics led to a scientific consensus that the division of the human species into unequal races is unjustifiable. Some see this as an ideological consensus, since equality, just like inequality, is a cultural choice rather than a matter that can be determined objectively.

Eugenics has also been concerned with the elimination of hereditary diseases such as haemophilia and Huntington’s disease. However, there are several problems with labeling certain factors as “genetic defects.” In many cases there is no scientific consensus on what a “genetic defect” is. It is often argued that this is more a matter of social or individual choice. What appears to be a “genetic defect” in one context or environment may not be so in another. This can be the case for genes with a heterozygote advantage, such as sickle cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease, which in their heterozygote form may offer an advantage against, respectively, malaria and tuberculosis. Many people can succeed in life with disabilities. Many of the conditions early eugenicists identified as inheritable (pellagra is one such example) are currently considered to be at least partially, if not wholly, attributed to environmental conditions. Similar concerns have been raised when a prenatal diagnosis of a congenital disorder leads to abortion.

Eugenic policies have been conceptually divided into two categories: Positive eugenics, which encourage a designated “most fit” to reproduce more often; and negative eugenics, which discourage or prevent a designated “less fit” from reproducing. Negative eugenics need not be coercive. A state might offer financial rewards to certain people who submit to sterilization, although some critics might reply that this incentive along with social pressure could be perceived as coercion. Positive eugenics can also be coercive. Abortion by “fit” women was illegal in Nazi Germany.

During the twentieth century, many countries enacted various eugenics policies and programs, including:

Most of these policies were later regarded as coercive, restrictive, or genocidal, and now few jurisdictions implement policies that are explicitly labeled as eugenic or unequivocally eugenic in substance (however labeled). However, some private organizations assist people in genetic counseling, and reprogenetics may be considered as a form of non-state-enforced “liberal” eugenics.

Selective breeding was suggested at least as far back as Plato, who believed human reproduction should be controlled by government. He recorded these ideals in The Republic: “The best men must have intercourse with the best women as frequently as possible, and the opposite is true of the very inferior.” Plato proposed that the process be concealed from the public via a form of lottery. Other ancient examples include the polis of Sparta’s purported practice of infanticide. However, they would leave all babies outside for a length of time, and the survivors were considered stronger, while many “weaker” babies perished.[1]

During the 1860s and 1870s, Sir Francis Galton systematized his ideas and practices according to new knowledge about the evolution of humans and animals provided by the theory of his cousin Charles Darwin. After reading Darwin’s Origin of Species, Galton noticed an interpretation of Darwin’s work whereby the mechanisms of natural selection were potentially thwarted by human civilization. He reasoned that, since many human societies sought to protect the underprivileged and weak, those societies were at odds with the natural selection responsible for extinction of the weakest. Only by changing these social policies, Galton thought, could society be saved from a “reversion towards mediocrity,” a phrase that he first coined in statistics and which later changed to the now common “regression towards the mean.”[2]

According to Galton, society already encouraged dysgenic conditions, claiming that the less intelligent were out-reproducing the more intelligent. Galton did not propose any selection methods; rather, he hoped that a solution would be found if social mores changed in a way that encouraged people to see the importance of breeding.

Galton first used the word eugenic in his 1883 Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development, a book in which he meant “to touch on various topics more or less connected with that of the cultivation of race, or, as we might call it, with ‘eugenic’ questions.” He included a footnote to the word “eugenic” which read:

That is, with questions bearing on what is termed in Greek, eugenes namely, good in stock, hereditarily endowed with noble qualities. This, and the allied words, eugeneia, etc., are equally applicable to men, brutes, and plants. We greatly want a brief word to express the science of improving stock, which is by no means confined to questions of judicious mating, but which, especially in the case of man, takes cognisance of all influences that tend in however remote a degree to give to the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they otherwise would have had. The word eugenics would sufficiently express the idea; it is at least a neater word and a more generalized one than viriculture which I once ventured to use.[3]

Eugenics differed from what would later be known as Social Darwinism. This school of thought was developed independently of Darwin by such writers as Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner. Social Darwinism includes a range of political ideologies which are held to be compatible with the concept that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution of biological traits in a population by natural selection can also be applied to competition between human societies or groups within a society. It is based on ideas of the “survival of the fittest” (a term coined by Herbert Spencer) to human society, saying that those humans with superior genes would be better placed to succeed in society, as evidenced by wealth and status. Social Darwinism, like eugenics, fell out of favor as it become increasingly associated with racism. While both claimed intelligence was hereditary, eugenics asserted that new policies were needed to actively change the status quo towards a more “eugenic” state, while the Social Darwinists argued society itself would naturally “check” the problem of “dysgenics” if no welfare policies were in place (for example, the poor might reproduce more but would have higher mortality rates).

The United States was home to a large eugenics movement in the 1890s. Beginning with Connecticut, in 1896, many states enacted marriage laws with eugenic criteria, prohibiting anyone who was “epileptic, imbecile, or feeble-minded” from marrying. In 1898, Charles B. Davenport, a prominent American biologist, began as director of a biological research station based in Cold Spring Harbor, where he experimented with evolution in plants and animals. In 1904, Davenport received funds from the Carnegie Institution to found the Station for Experimental Evolution. The Eugenics Record Office opened in 1910, while Davenport and Harry H. Laughlin began to promote eugenics.[4]

Though eugenics is today often associated with racism, it was not always so; both W.E.B. DuBois and Marcus Garvey supported eugenics or ideas resembling eugenics as a way to reduce African American suffering and improve their stature.[5] Many legal methods of eugenics include state laws against miscegenation or prohibitions of interracial marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned those state laws in 1967, and declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

During the twentieth century, researchers became interested in the idea that mental illness could run in families and conducted a number of studies to document the heritability of such illnesses as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and clinical depression. Their findings were used by the eugenics movement as proof for its cause. State laws were written in the late 1800s and early 1900s to prohibit marriage and force sterilization of the mentally ill in order to prevent the “passing on” of mental illness to the next generation. These laws were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1927, and were not abolished until the mid-twentieth century. By 1945, over 45,000 mentally ill individuals in the United States had been forcibly sterilized.

With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played a central role in the Congressional debate as expert advisers on the threat of “inferior stock” from eastern and southern Europe. This reduced the number of immigrants from abroad to 15 percent of previous years, to control the number of “unfit” individuals entering the country. The new act strengthened existing laws prohibiting race mixing in an attempt to maintain the gene pool.[6] Eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many antimiscegenation laws.[7]

Some states sterilized “imbeciles” for much of the twentieth century. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1927 Buck v. Bell case that the state of Virginia could sterilize those it thought unfit. The most significant era of eugenic sterilization was between 1907 and 1963, when over 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under eugenic legislation in the United States.[8] A favorable report on the results of sterilization in California, by far the state with the most sterilizations, was published in book form by the biologist Paul Popenoe and was widely cited by the Nazi government as evidence that wide-reaching sterilization programs were feasible and humane. When Nazi administrators went on trial for war crimes in Nuremberg after World War II, they justified the mass sterilizations (over 450,000 in less than a decade) by citing the United States as their inspiration.[9]

Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler was infamous for eugenics programs which attempted to maintain a “pure” German race through a series of programs that ran under the banner of “racial hygiene.” Among other activities, the Nazis performed extensive experimentation on live human beings to test their genetic theories, ranging from simple measurement of physical characteristics to the horrific experiments carried out by Josef Mengele for Otmar von Verschuer on twins in the concentration camps. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazi regime forcibly sterilized hundreds of thousands of people whom they viewed as mentally and physically “unfit,” an estimated 400,000 between 1934 and 1937. The scale of the Nazi program prompted American eugenics advocates to seek an expansion of their program, with one complaining that “the Germans are beating us at our own game.”[10] The Nazis went further, however, killing tens of thousands of the institutionalized disabled through compulsory “euthanasia” programs.[11]

They also implemented a number of “positive” eugenics policies, giving awards to “Aryan” women who had large numbers of children and encouraged a service in which “racially pure” single women were impregnated by SS officers (Lebensborn). Many of their concerns for eugenics and racial hygiene were also explicitly present in their systematic killing of millions of “undesirable” people including Jews, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals during the Holocaust (much of the killing equipment and methods employed in the death camps were first developed in the euthanasia program). The scope and coercion involved in the German eugenics programs along with a strong use of the rhetoric of eugenics and so-called “racial science” throughout the regime created an indelible cultural association between eugenics and the Third Reich in the postwar years.[12]

After the experience of Nazi Germany, many ideas about “racial hygiene” and “unfit” members of society were publicly renounced by politicians and members of the scientific community. The Nuremberg Trials against former Nazi leaders revealed to the world many of the regime’s genocidal practices and resulted in formalized policies of medical ethics and the 1950 UNESCO statement on race. Many scientific societies released their own similar “race statements” over the years, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, developed in response to abuses during the Second World War, was adopted by the United Nations in 1948, and affirmed, “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.”[13] In continuation, the 1978 UNESCO declaration on race and racial prejudice states that the fundamental equality of all human beings is the ideal toward which ethics and science should converge.[14]

In reaction to Nazi abuses, eugenics became almost universally reviled in many of the nations where it had once been popular (however, some eugenics programs, including sterilization, continued quietly for decades). Many pre-war eugenicists engaged in what they later labeled “crypto-eugenics,” purposefully taking their eugenic beliefs “underground” and becoming respected anthropologists, biologists, and geneticists in the postwar world (including Robert Yerkes in the U.S. and Otmar von Verschuer in Germany). Californian eugenicist Paul Popenoe founded marriage counseling during the 1950s, a career change which grew from his eugenic interests in promoting “healthy marriages” between “fit” couples.[15]

High school and college textbooks from the 1920s through the 1940s often had chapters touting the scientific progress to be had from applying eugenic principles to the population. Many early scientific journals devoted to heredity in general were run by eugenicists and featured eugenics articles alongside studies of heredity in nonhuman organisms. After eugenics fell out of scientific favor, most references to eugenics were removed from textbooks and subsequent editions of relevant journals. Even the names of some journals changed to reflect new attitudes. For example, Eugenics Quarterly became Social Biology in 1969 (the journal still exists today, though it looks little like its predecessor). Notable members of the American Eugenics Society (192294) during the second half of the twentieth century included Joseph Fletcher, originator of Situational ethics; Dr. Clarence Gamble of the Procter & Gamble fortune; and Garrett Hardin, a population control advocate and author of The Tragedy of the Commons.

Despite the changed postwar attitude towards eugenics in the U.S. and some European countries, a few nations, notably, Canada and Sweden, maintained large-scale eugenics programs, including forced sterilization of mentally handicapped individuals, as well as other practices, until the 1970s. In the United States, sterilizations capped off in the 1960s, though the eugenics movement had largely lost most popular and political support by the end of the 1930s.[16]

Despite the ill repute of eugenics, there still exists a debate regarding its use or abuse.

While the science of genetics has increasingly provided means by which certain characteristics and conditions can be identified and understood, given the complexity of human genetics, culture, and psychology, there is at this point no agreed objective means of determining which traits might be ultimately desirable or undesirable. Eugenic manipulations that reduce the propensity for criminality and violence, for example, might result in the population being enslaved by an outside aggressor it can no longer defend itself against. On the other hand, genetic diseases like hemochromatosis can increase susceptibility to illness, cause physical deformities, and other dysfunctions. Eugenic measures against many of these diseases are already being undertaken in societies around the world, while measures against traits that affect more subtle, poorly understood traits, such as criminality, are relegated to the realm of speculation and science fiction. The effects of diseases are essentially wholly negative, and societies everywhere seek to reduce their impact by various means, some of which are eugenic in all but name.

In modern bioethics literature, the history of eugenics presents many moral and ethical questions. Commentators have suggested the new “eugenics” will come from reproductive technologies that will allow parents to create so-called “designer babies” (what the biologist Lee M. Silver prominently called “reprogenetics”). It has been argued that this “non-coercive” form of biological “improvement” will be predominantly motivated by individual competitiveness and the desire to create “the best opportunities” for children, rather than an urge to improve the species as a whole, which characterized the early twentieth century forms of eugenics. Because of this non-coercive nature, lack of involvement by the state, and a difference in goals, some commentators have questioned whether such activities are eugenics or something else altogether.

Some disability activists argue that, although their impairments may cause them pain or discomfort, what really disables them as members of society is a sociocultural system that does not recognize their right to genuinely equal treatment. They express skepticism that any form of eugenics could be to the benefit of the disabled considering their treatment by historical eugenic campaigns.

James D. Watson, the first director of the Human Genome Project, initiated the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications Program (ELSI) which has funded a number of studies into the implications of human genetic engineering (along with a prominent website on the history of eugenics), because:

In putting ethics so soon into the genome agenda, I was responding to my own personal fear that all too soon critics of the Genome Project would point out that I was a representative of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that once housed the controversial Eugenics Record Office. My not forming a genome ethics program quickly might be falsely used as evidence that I was a closet eugenicist, having as my real long-term purpose the unambiguous identification of genes that lead to social and occupational stratification as well as genes justifying racial discrimination.[17]

Distinguished geneticists including Nobel Prize-winners John Sulston (“I don’t think one ought to bring a clearly disabled child into the world”)[18] and Watson (“Once you have a way in which you can improve our children, no one can stop it”)[19] support genetic screening. Which ideas should be described as “eugenic” are still controversial in both public and scholarly spheres. Some observers such as Philip Kitcher have described the use of genetic screening by parents as making possible a form of “voluntary” eugenics.[20]

Some modern subcultures advocate different forms of eugenics assisted by human cloning and human genetic engineering, sometimes even as part of a new cult (see Ralism, Cosmotheism, or Prometheism). These groups also talk of “neo-eugenics.” “conscious evolution,” or “genetic freedom.”

Behavioral traits often identified as potential targets for modification through human genetic engineering include intelligence, clinical depression, schizophrenia, alcoholism, sexual behavior (and orientation), and criminality.

In a 2005 United Kingdom court case, the Crown v. James Edward Whittaker-Williams, arguably set a precedent of banning sexual contact between people with “learning difficulties.” The accused, a man suffering learning disabilities, was jailed for kissing and hugging a woman with learning disabilities. This was done under the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, which redefines kissing and cuddling as sexual and states that those with learning difficulties are unable to give consent regardless of whether or not the act involved coercion. Opponents of the act have attacked it as bringing in eugenics through the backdoor under the guise of a requirement of “consent.”[21]

A common criticism of eugenics is that it inevitably leads to measures that are unethical. In the hypothetical scenario where it’s scientifically proven that one racial minority group making up 5 percent of the population is on average less intelligent than the majority racial group it’s more likely that the minority racial group will be submitted to a eugenics program, opposed to the five percent least intelligent members of the population as a whole. For example, Nazi Germany’s eugenic program within the German population resulted in protests and unrest, while the persecution of the Jews was met with silence.

Steven Pinker has stated that it is “a conventional wisdom among left-leaning academics that genes imply genocide.” He has responded to this “conventional wisdom” by comparing the history of Marxism, which had the opposite position on genes to that of Nazism:

But the twentieth century suffered “two” ideologies that led to genocides. The other one, Marxism, had no use for race, didn’t believe in genes and denied that human nature was a meaningful concept. Clearly, it’s not an emphasis on genes or evolution that is dangerous. It’s the desire to remake humanity by coercive means (eugenics or social engineering) and the belief that humanity advances through a struggle in which superior groups (race or classes) triumph over inferior ones.[22]

Richard Lynn has argued that any social philosophy is capable of ethical misuse. Though Christian principles have aided in the abolition of slavery and the establishment of welfare programs, he notes that the Christian church has also burned many dissidents at the stake and waged wars against nonbelievers in which Christian crusaders slaughtered large numbers of women and children. Lynn argued the appropriate response is to condemn these killings, but believing that Christianity “inevitably leads to the extermination of those who do not accept its doctrines” is unwarranted.[23]

Eugenic policies could also lead to loss of genetic diversity, in which case a culturally accepted improvement of the gene pool may, but would not necessarily, result in biological disaster due to increased vulnerability to disease, reduced ability to adapt to environmental change and other factors both known and unknown. This kind of argument from the precautionary principle is itself widely criticized. A long-term eugenics plan is likely to lead to a scenario similar to this because the elimination of traits deemed undesirable would reduce genetic diversity by definition.

Related to a decrease in diversity is the danger of non-recognition. That is, if everyone were beautiful and attractive, then it would be more difficult to distinguish between different individuals, due to the wide variety of ugly traits and otherwise non-attractive traits and combinations thereof that people use to recognize each other.

The possible elimination of the autism genotype is a significant political issue in the autism rights movement, which claims autism is a form of neurodiversity. Many advocates of Down Syndrome rights also consider Down Syndrome (Trisomy-21) a form of neurodiversity, though males with Down Syndrome are generally infertile.

In some instances, efforts to eradicate certain single-gene mutations would be nearly impossible. In the event the condition in question was a heterozygous recessive trait, the problem is that by eliminating the visible unwanted trait, there are still as many genes for the condition left in the gene pool as were eliminated according to the Hardy-Weinberg principle, which states that a population’s genetics are defined as pp+2pq+qq at equilibrium. With genetic testing it may be possible to detect all of the heterozygous recessive traits, but only at great cost with the current technology. Under normal circumstances it is only possible to eliminate a dominant allele from the gene pool. Recessive traits can be severely reduced, but never eliminated unless the complete genetic makeup of all members of the pool was known, as aforementioned. As only very few undesirable traits, such as Huntington’s disease, are dominant, the practical value for “eliminating” traits is quite low.

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Eugenics – New World Encyclopedia

eugenics | Description, History, & Modern Eugenics …

Eugenics, the selection of desired heritable characteristics in order to improve future generations, typically in reference to humans. The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and natural scientist Francis Galton, who, influenced by Charles Darwins theory of natural selection, advocated a system that would allow the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable. Social Darwinism, the popular theory in the late 19th century that life for humans in society was ruled by survival of the fittest, helped advance eugenics into serious scientific study in the early 1900s. By World War I, many scientific authorities and political leaders supported eugenics. However, it ultimately failed as a science in the 1930s and 40s, when the assumptions of eugenicists became heavily criticized and the Nazis used eugenics to support the extermination of entire races.

Although eugenics as understood today dates from the late 19th century, efforts to select matings in order to secure offspring with desirable traits date from ancient times. Platos Republic (c. 378 bce) depicts a society where efforts are undertaken to improve human beings through selective breeding. Later, Italian philosopher and poet Tommaso Campanella, in City of the Sun (1623), described a utopian community in which only the socially elite are allowed to procreate. Galton, in Hereditary Genius (1869), proposed that a system of arranged marriages between men of distinction and women of wealth would eventually produce a gifted race. In 1865, the basic laws of heredity were discovered by the father of modern genetics, Gregor Mendel. His experiments with peas demonstrated that each physical trait was the result of a combination of two units (now known as genes) and could be passed from one generation to another. However, his work was largely ignored until its rediscovery in 1900. This fundamental knowledge of heredity provided eugenicistsincluding Galton, who influenced his cousin Charles Darwinwith scientific evidence to support the improvement of humans through selective breeding.

The advancement of eugenics was concurrent with an increasing appreciation of Charles Darwins account for change or evolution within societywhat contemporaries referred to as Social Darwinism. Darwin had concluded his explanations of evolution by arguing that the greatest step humans could make in their own history would occur when they realized that they were not completely guided by instinct. Rather, humans, through selective reproduction, had the ability to control their own future evolution. A language pertaining to reproduction and eugenics developed, leading to terms such as positive eugenics, defined as promoting the proliferation of good stock, and negative eugenics, defined as prohibiting marriage and breeding between defective stock. For eugenicists, nature was far more contributory than nurture in shaping humanity.

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biological determinism: The eugenics movement

One of the most prominent movements to apply genetics to understanding social and personality traits was the eugenics movement, which originated in the late 19th century. Eugenics was coined in 1883 by British explorer and naturalist Francis Galton, who was influenced by the theory of natural selection developed by his cousin, Charles Darwin. Galton used the term to refer to more…

During the early 1900s, eugenics became a serious scientific study pursued by both biologists and social scientists. They sought to determine the extent to which human characteristics of social importance were inherited. Among their greatest concerns were the predictability of intelligence and certain deviant behaviours. Eugenics, however, was not confined to scientific laboratories and academic institutions. It began to pervade cultural thought around the globe, including the Scandinavian countries, most other European countries, North America, Latin America, Japan, China, and Russia. In the United States, the eugenics movement began during the Progressive Era and remained active through 1940. It gained considerable support from leading scientific authorities such as zoologist Charles B. Davenport, plant geneticist Edward M. East, and geneticist and Nobel Prize laureate Hermann J. Muller. Political leaders in favour of eugenics included U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, Secretary of State Elihu Root, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall Harlan. Internationally, there were many individuals whose work supported eugenic aims, including British scientists J.B.S. Haldane and Julian Huxley and Russian scientists Nikolay K. Koltsov and Yury A. Filipchenko.

Galton had endowed a research fellowship in eugenics in 1904 and, in his will, provided funds for a chair of eugenics at University College, London. The fellowship and later the chair were occupied by Karl Pearson, a brilliant mathematician who helped to create the science of biometry, the statistical aspects of biology. Pearson was a controversial figure who believed that environment had little to do with the development of mental or emotional qualities. He felt that the high birth rate of the poor was a threat to civilization and that the higher races must supplant the lower. His views gave countenance to those who believed in racial and class superiority. Thus, Pearson shares the blame for the discredit later brought on eugenics.

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In the United States, the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was opened at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, N.Y., in 1910 with financial support from the legacy of railroad magnate Edward Henry Harriman. Whereas ERO efforts were officially overseen by Charles B. Davenport, director of the Station for Experimental Study of Evolution (one of the biology research stations at Cold Spring Harbor), ERO activities were directly superintended by Harry H. Laughlin, a professor from Kirksville, Mo. The ERO was organized around a series of missions. These missions included serving as the national repository and clearinghouse for eugenics information, compiling an index of traits in American families, training field-workers to gather data throughout the United States, supporting investigations into the inheritance patterns of particular human traits and diseases, advising on the eugenic fitness of proposed marriages, and communicating all eugenic findings through a series of publications. To accomplish these goals, further funding was secured from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the Battle Creek Race Betterment Foundation, and the Human Betterment Foundation.

Prior to the founding of the ERO, eugenics work in the United States was overseen by a standing committee of the American Breeders Association (eugenics section established in 1906), chaired by ichthyologist and Stanford University president David Starr Jordan. Research from around the globe was featured at three international congresses, held in 1912, 1921, and 1932. In addition, eugenics education was monitored in Britain by the English Eugenics Society (founded by Galton in 1907 as the Eugenics Education Society) and in the United States by the American Eugenics Society.

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Following World War I, the United States gained status as a world power. A concomitant fear arose that if the healthy stock of the American people became diluted with socially undesirable traits, the countrys political and economic strength would begin to crumble. The maintenance of world peace by fostering democracy, capitalism, and, at times, eugenics-based schemes was central to the activities of the Internationalists, a group of prominent American leaders in business, education, publishing, and government. One core member of this group, the New York lawyer Madison Grant, aroused considerable pro-eugenic interest through his best-selling book The Passing of the Great Race (1916). Beginning in 1920, a series of congressional hearings was held to identify problems that immigrants were causing the United States. As the countrys eugenics expert, Harry Laughlin provided tabulations showing that certain immigrants, particularly those from Italy, Greece, and Eastern Europe, were significantly overrepresented in American prisons and institutions for the feebleminded. Further data were construed to suggest that these groups were contributing too many genetically and socially inferior people. Laughlins classification of these individuals included the feebleminded, the insane, the criminalistic, the epileptic, the inebriate, the diseasedincluding those with tuberculosis, leprosy, and syphilisthe blind, the deaf, the deformed, the dependent, chronic recipients of charity, paupers, and neer-do-wells. Racial overtones also pervaded much of the British and American eugenics literature. In 1923, Laughlin was sent by the U.S. secretary of labour as an immigration agent to Europe to investigate the chief emigrant-exporting nations. Laughlin sought to determine the feasibility of a plan whereby every prospective immigrant would be interviewed before embarking to the United States. He provided testimony before Congress that ultimately led to a new immigration law in 1924 that severely restricted the annual immigration of individuals from countries previously claimed to have contributed excessively to the dilution of American good stock.

Immigration control was but one method to control eugenically the reproductive stock of a country. Laughlin appeared at the centre of other U.S. efforts to provide eugenicists greater reproductive control over the nation. He approached state legislators with a model law to control the reproduction of institutionalized populations. By 1920, two years before the publication of Laughlins influential Eugenical Sterilization in the United States (1922), 3,200 individuals across the country were reported to have been involuntarily sterilized. That number tripled by 1929, and by 1938 more than 30,000 people were claimed to have met this fate. More than half of the states adopted Laughlins law, with California, Virginia, and Michigan leading the sterilization campaign. Laughlins efforts secured staunch judicial support in 1927. In the precedent-setting case of Buck v. Bell, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., upheld the Virginia statute and claimed, 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.

During the 1930s, eugenics gained considerable popular support across the United States. Hygiene courses in public schools and eugenics courses in colleges spread eugenic-minded values to many. A eugenics exhibit titled Pedigree-Study in Man was featured at the Chicago Worlds Fair in 193334. Consistent with the fairs Century of Progress theme, stations were organized around efforts to show how favourable traits in the human population could best be perpetuated. Contrasts were drawn between the emulative, presidential Roosevelt family and the degenerate Ishmael family (one of several pseudonymous family names used, the rationale for which was not given). By studying the passage of ancestral traits, fairgoers were urged to adopt the progressive view that responsible individuals should pursue marriage ever mindful of eugenics principles. Booths were set up at county and state fairs promoting fitter families contests, and medals were awarded to eugenically sound families. Drawing again upon long-standing eugenic practices in agriculture, popular eugenic advertisements claimed it was about time that humans received the same attention in the breeding of better babies that had been given to livestock and crops for centuries.

Antieugenics sentiment began to appear after 1910 and intensified during the 1930s. Most commonly it was based on religious grounds. For example, the 1930 papal encyclical Casti connubii condemned reproductive sterilization, though it did not specifically prohibit positive eugenic attempts to amplify the inheritance of beneficial traits. Many Protestant writings sought to reconcile age-old Christian warnings about the heritable sins of the father to pro-eugenic ideals. Indeed, most of the religion-based popular writings of the period supported positive means of improving the physical and moral makeup of humanity.

In the early 1930s, Nazi Germany adopted American measures to identify and selectively reduce the presence of those deemed to be socially inferior through involuntary sterilization. A rhetoric of positive eugenics in the building of a master race pervaded Rassenhygiene (racial hygiene) movements. When Germany extended its practices far beyond sterilization in efforts to eliminate the Jewish and other non-Aryan populations, the United States became increasingly concerned over its own support of eugenics. Many scientists, physicians, and political leaders began to denounce the work of the ERO publicly. After considerable reflection, the Carnegie Institution formally closed the ERO at the end of 1939.

During the aftermath of World War II, eugenics became stigmatized such that many individuals who had once hailed it as a science now spoke disparagingly of it as a failed pseudoscience. Eugenics was dropped from organization and publication names. In 1954, Britains Annals of Eugenics was renamed Annals of Human Genetics. In 1972, the American Eugenics Society adopted the less-offensive name Society for the Study of Social Biology. Its publication, once popularly known as the Eugenics Quarterly, had already been renamed Social Biology in 1969.

U.S. Senate hearings in 1973, chaired by Edward Kennedy, revealed that thousands of U.S. citizens had been sterilized under federally supported programs. The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare proposed guidelines encouraging each state to repeal their respective sterilization laws. Other countries, most notably China, continue to support eugenics-directed programs openly in order to ensure the genetic makeup of their future.

Despite the dropping of the term eugenics, eugenic ideas remain prevalent in many issues surrounding human reproduction. Medical genetics, a post-World War II medical specialty, encompasses a wide range of health concerns, from genetic screening and counseling to fetal gene manipulation and the treatment of adults suffering from hereditary disorders. Because certain diseases (e.g., hemophilia and Tay-Sachs disease) are now known to be genetically transmitted, many couples choose to undergo genetic screening, in which they learn the chances that their offspring have of being affected by some combination of their hereditary backgrounds. Couples at risk of passing on genetic defects may opt to remain childless or to adopt children. Furthermore, it is now possible to diagnose certain genetic defects in the unborn. Many couples choose to terminate a pregnancy that involves a genetically disabled offspring. These developments have reinforced the eugenic aim of identifying and eliminating undesirable genetic material.

Counterbalancing this trend, however, has been medical progress that enables victims of many genetic diseases to live fairly normal lives. Direct manipulation of harmful genes is also being studied. If perfected, it could obviate eugenic arguments for restricting reproduction among those who carry harmful genes. Such conflicting innovations have complicated the controversy surrounding what many call the new eugenics. Moreover, suggestions for expanding eugenics programs, which range from the creation of sperm banks for the genetically superior to the potential cloning of human beings, have met with vigorous resistance from the public, which often views such programs as unwarranted interference with nature or as opportunities for abuse by authoritarian regimes.

Applications of the Human Genome Project are often referred to as Brave New World genetics or the new eugenics, in part because they have helped to dramatically increase knowledge of human genetics. In addition, 21st-century technologies such as gene editing, which can potentially be used to treat disease or to alter traits, have further renewed concerns. However, the ethical, legal, and social implications of such tools are monitored much more closely than were early 20th-century eugenics programs. Applications also generally are more focused on the reduction of genetic diseases than on improving intelligence.

Still, with or without the use of the term, many eugenics-related concerns are reemerging as a new group of individuals decide how to regulate the application of genetics science and technology. This gene-directed activity, in attempting to improve upon nature, may not be that distant from what Galton implied in 1909 when he described eugenics as the study of agencies, under social control, which may improve or impair future generations.

See more here:

eugenics | Description, History, & Modern Eugenics …

The disturbing, eugenics-like reality unfolding in Iceland – Quartz

Recently, a CBS news crew traveled to Iceland, producing a report titled Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing. As much as it sounds like it, the headline is not clickbait or hyperbole: In Iceland, nearly every women who undergoes prenatal testing and whose fetus receives a diagnosis of Down syndrome decides to end her pregnancy. Each year, according to their sources, only a child or two is born with Down syndrome in Iceland.

Up to 85% of pregnant women in Iceland choose to take prenatal testing. The specific test in question, which CBS calls the combination test, takes into account ultrasound images, a blood draw, and a mothers age to determine the likelihood that a fetus has Down syndrome. (Older mothers are more likely to have babies with Down syndrome because chromosomal errors are more likely as women age.)

In essence, pregnant women in Icelandand presumably their partnersare saying that life with disability is not worth living. It is one thing to decide that a child who will never walk, talk, feed herself, or engage with caregivers may not have a good quality of life. But children with Down syndrome do not fit this description. If a woman doesnt want to have a child with Down syndrome, their bar for what qualifies as a life worth living is set quite high. Are babies who are born deaf destined to lead a worthwhile life? What about babies with cleft palates, which can be corrected but leave a visible scar?

Heres the interesting thing: Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21 as it is also called, is actually one of the less severe chromosomal conditions. Unlike many other trisomies (genetic conditions in which a person has three copies of a chromosome instead of the standard two), its compatible with life.

People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of their 21st chromosome, which causes intellectual delays and readily identifiable facial features such as almond-shaped eyes. But the way that Down syndrome expresses itself in an individual can be highly variable. About half of babies born with Down syndrome have heart defects that require surgical correction. Some children with Down syndrome grow up to be adults who go to college and get married; others never live independently.

Can she live a full life without without ever solving a quadratic equation? Without reading Dostoyevsky? Im pretty sure she can.I have interviewed Amy Julia Becker many times over the years. Becker wrote a book about her daughter, Penny, who has Down syndrome. In A Good and Perfect Gift, Becker, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton, chronicles her shift in thinking about intelligence. Pre-Penny, she had assumed that being smart is a prerequisite for being happy and fulfilled. Post-Penny, she changed her mind. Can she live a full life without without ever solving a quadratic equation? Without reading Dostoyevsky? Im pretty sure she can. Can I live a full life without learning to cherish and welcome those in this world who are different from me? Im pretty sure I cant.

Deciding what sorts of lives are worth living brings us disturbingly close to the bygone era of eugenics, when only the right sorts of people were supposed to procreate.

In 1927, a US Supreme Court decision upheld the right of the state of Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, whose daughter, Vivian, was deemed to be feeble-minded. Paul Lombardo, a professor of law at Georgia State University who is an expert on eugenics, believes that Vivian was in fact of normal intelligence. Eventuallyand fortunatelyeugenics fell out of favor, and several US states have issued apologies to people who were forcibly sterilized over the years. Yet the bias against people with disabilities is still very much evident.

When I interviewed Lombardo for my book, The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have KidsAnd the Kids We Have, he noted that theres a long list of physical and mental disabilities that people find discomfiting. At the top of that list? Intellectual disabilities.In other words, Down syndrome and other similar conditions that result in people not being able to pursue a PhD or do quantum physics are often seen as bigger impediments to a life worth living than physical impairments. But is that our choice to make for them?

Deciding that people with Down syndrome dont live worthwhile lives can snowball into a groupthink situation. It will become less and less acceptable to raise a child with Down syndrome, and that will translate into fewer support services available to parents who decide to buck the trend. The lack of support will further encourage women to terminate their pregnancies, leading to even fewer babies born with the condition in the future. If we continue to follow this path, the disappearance of Down syndrome will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And to what end?

You can follow Bonnie on Twitter. Learn how to write for Quartz Ideas. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

See the original post:

The disturbing, eugenics-like reality unfolding in Iceland – Quartz

The Ongoing Genocide in Iceland, Eugenics and Down Syndrome – The Narrative Times (blog)

Following nearly 100% of prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome in Iceland, parents chose to kill their child in the womb, according to a recent report by CBS News. The almost complementary twitter caption for this articlesuggested that the people of Iceland had found a cure for Down syndrome, rather than simply killing countless children for their disability. The media reaction to eugenics has been disturbingly positive.

If this slaughter was not horrifying enough, consider all the people who view it with indifference or even approval. Parents ask for tests to decide whether their child has a right to life and their society behaves as if nothing is amiss. The desire to live in comfort leads so many to ignore the horrible price, the uncomfortable truth. In Iceland, your humanity is conditional.

A society ostensibly dedicated to combating ableism eradicates a condition by killing those who have it. It indicates not only enormous selfishness and moral decay but also the return of an evil ideology from the past, eugenics.

Initially, many saw eugenics as simply a step towards improving society by applying the research of Mendel and Darwin to humans. However, eugenics quickly became an instrument of the culture of death and a source of countless violations of our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Parts of the United States, including Virginia, embraced this practice. The state government sterilized countless people with mental illness and other conditions. At the same time, Margaret Sanger, a chief proponent of eugenics and the founder of Planned Parenthood sought to prevent minorities from having children. Just as some eugenicists killed the disabled to improve humanity, Sanger sought to limit the number of African-American births in the country. Her legacy lives on in Planned Parenthood and the alt-right. The first is responsible for the murder of countless unborn African-Americans, while many in the latter group support abortion for the same reason.

The National Socialists in Germany adopted many of these ideas. The elderly, the mentally disabled, the physically disabled, the Jews, and many minorities within the region conquered by the Nazis were systematically slaughtered, ostensibly in pursuit of a better mankind. The horror which the widespread application of eugenics in Nazi Germany caused would temporarily damage the popularity of the practice throughout the West. It seems we are beginning to forget.

Of course, Icelanders do not openly claim to be improving the human race by aborting those with Down syndrome. As in the case of Charlie Gard, many claim to be acting in the interests of the child. They weigh the childs future quality of life, but almost always determine that this life is not worth living.

They do not have the right to speak for anyone else in this way, yet they routinely do so. However, this quality of life debate is not just a violation of basic human rights. It is the mark of a society without God, a decaying society. A society that kills those who inconvenience it, wherever and whenever they cannot speak for themselves. This culture of death, often condemned by Pope Francis, pressures the elderly and the sick to consider euthanasia. It kills the unborn, whether for mere convenience or some perceived imperfection.

They have never met those who love their brother, sister, son or daughter who has Down syndrome. They are friends, employees, altar servers, and contributors to our society. I know this from experience because my Catholic community loves each and every one of its children. We recognize their right to life, their humanity. They love life just as much as the rest of us if not more. The eugenicists cannot comprehend this. Icelanders will never give them the chance to love or be loved.

A society that permits such evil will not and should not long survive. Many right-wing observers, rightly or wrongly, fear the combination of falling European birth rates and refugees. Yet this would not be such a great concern if the refugees assimilated and Icelanders raised a new patriotic generation. Iceland has failed on both counts, while this is unlikely to change in the future.

As Icelanders have fewer and fewer children, I see no reason why the next generation there should feel any attachment to their culture.

The potential danger of disaffected youths joining a variety of extremist movements is manifested as they grow to despise their own civilization or even all mankind. Homegrown extremists commit acts of terror, while girls travel abroad to become brides of ISIS. Birth rates decline and native populations age. Religiosity falls as the few who remain wonder how their society eroded so quickly. Mene. Mene. Teckel. Upharsin.

Follow the author on Twitter at: @TOsh0w

Fire and fury like never seen North Koreas Days May Be Numbered

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Read more here:

The Ongoing Genocide in Iceland, Eugenics and Down Syndrome – The Narrative Times (blog)

Pro-Choicers Should Explain Why They Think Eugenics Is Acceptable – The Federalist

Due to the rise of prenatal screening tests, the number of babies born with Down syndrome in the Western world has begun to significantly diminish. And no one, as CBS News puts it, is eradicating Down syndrome births quite like the country of Iceland.

Now, the word eradication typically implies that an ailment is being cured or beaten by some technological advancement. Not so in this case. Nearly 100 percent of women who receive positive tests for Down syndrome in that small nation end up eradicating their pregnancies. Iceland averages only one or two Down syndrome children per year, and this seems mostly a result of parents receiving inaccurate test results.

Its just a matter of time until the rest of the world catches up. In the United States around 67 percent of women who find out their child will be born with Down syndrome opt to have an abortion. In the United Kingdom its around 90 percent. More and more women are taking these prenatal tests, and the tests are becoming increasingly accurate.

For now, however, Iceland has completed one of the most successful eugenics programs in the contemporary world.If you think thats overstated, consider that eugenics the word itself derived from Greek, meaning well born is nothing more than an effort to control breeding to increase desirable heritable characteristics within a population. This can be done through positive selection, as in breeding the right kinds of people with each other, or in negative selection, which is stopping the wrong kinds of people from having children.

The latter was the hallmark of the progressive movement of the 1900s. It was the rationalization behind the coerced sterilization of thousands of mentally ill, poor, and minorities here in America. It is why real-life Nazis required doctorsto register all newborns born with Down syndrome. And the first humans they gassed were children under three years old with serious hereditary diseases like Down syndrome.

Most often Down syndrome isnt hereditary, of course, but for many these children are considered undesirable really, they are considered inconvenient although most are born with moderate cognitive or intellectual disabilities and many live full lives.

If Icelands policy reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling, as geneticist Kari Stefansson admits in a video, then what will it mean when we have the science to extrapolate on these tests and pinpoint other problematic traits in people? How about children with congenital heart defects or cleft palates or sickle-cell disease or autism? Eradicate?

One day a DNA test will be able to tell us virtually anything we want to know, including our tendencies. So heres the best way to frame the ugliness of these eradication policies in terms more people might care about: Iceland has made great strides in eradicating gay births or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating low-IQ births or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating births of those who lean towards obesity or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating births of mixed-race babies. Feel free to insert the fact of humankind that gets you most upset.

How about, Iceland has made great strides in eradicating female births?

From what I could tell admittedly, this is through social media; I see no polling on the issue most people, many liberals included, reacted to Icelands selective eradication of Down syndrome children negatively. Polling from the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institutehas found that 77 percent believed abortion should be illegal if the sole reason for seeking an abortion was to have a boy or girl.

I dont understand why.If your circumstance or inconvenience is a justifiable reason to eradicate a pregnancy who wants to be punished with a baby, after all? why wouldnt a sex-selective abortion be okay? Does the act of abortion transform into something less moral if we feel differently about it? Does the act change because it targets a group of people that we feel are being victimized? What is the ethical difference between a sex-selective abortion and plain-old abortion of a girl?

One imagines that most women carrying babies with genetic disorders in Iceland did not opt to have abortions because they harbor hate or revulsion towards Down syndrome children. I assume they had other reasons, including the desire to give birth to a healthy child and avoid the complications that the alternative would pose.

A number of U.S. states have passed or want to pass laws that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex, or ethnicity of a fetus. Such a U.S. House bill failed in 2012. Most Democrats involved claimed to be against sex-selective abortion, but not one gave a reason why. Probably because once you admit that these theoretical choices equate to real-life consequences, like eugenics, you are conceding that these are lives were talking about, not blobs. In America, such talk is still frowned upon.

Icelanders, apparently, are more honest:

Over at Landspitali University Hospital, Helga Sol Olafsdottir counsels women who have a pregnancy with a chromosomal abnormality. They speak to her when deciding whether to continue or end their pregnancies. Olafsdottir tells women who are wrestling with the decision or feelings of guilt: This is your life you have the right to choose how your life will look like.

Well, not everyone gets to choose what his or her life looks like. Certainly not those who are eradicated because they suffer from genetic disorders.Then again, We dont look at abortion as a murder, Olafsdottir explains later. We look at it as a thing that we ended. A thing? Using an ambiguous noun is a cowardly way to avoid the set of moral questions that pop up when you have to define that thing. And science is making it increasingly difficult to circumvent that debate.

Read more:

Pro-Choicers Should Explain Why They Think Eugenics Is Acceptable – The Federalist

Suit claims reduced-sentence offer for birth control and sterilization was ‘eugenics with a twist’ – ABA Journal

Constitutional Law

Posted August 21, 2017, 9:14 am CDT

By Debra Cassens Weiss

Mario Williams of Nexus Caridades Attorneys at left; at the podium, Nexus CEO Mike Donovan and plaintiff Christel Ward.

A federal lawsuit filed last week claims a Tennessee judge and sheriff violated inmates constitutional rights through a program offering reduced jail time if they undergo vasectomies or get contraceptive implants.

The suit, filed on behalf of a woman who didnt get the promised 30 days off her jail term, claims the White County program amounted to eugenics with a twist, Courthouse News Service reports. The Tennessean and the Associated Press also have stories; a press release is here.

The plaintiff, Christel Ward, wants to get her Nexplanon implant removed, but was told she will have to pay $250 for the procedure. Ward was allowed to sign up for the program even though she didnt qualify, according to the suit. The suit seeks an order allowing the implant removal for free, a declaration that the program is unconstitutional and punitive damages.

The complaint alleges that White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe asked Judge Sam Benningfield to issue the standing order offering the sentence reductions. Benningfield issued the order in May and rescinded it July 27 after the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee issued a statement condemning the program.

The suit claims the program violated inmates Fourth and 14th Amendment right to be free from unlawful government coercion. It also claims negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The suit was filed by pro bono lawyers with Nexus Caridades Attorneys Inc., which provides electronic monitoring and immigrant bail bond alternatives.

Mario Williams, a lawyer with Nexus, said at a news conference that 35 women and 42 men had signed up for the program. A spokesman for the sheriff declined to comment when contacted by the Tennessean.

Benningfield had previously said he was trying to help these folks, you know, begin to think about taking responsibility for their life and doing right and giving them a leg up.

View original post here:

Suit claims reduced-sentence offer for birth control and sterilization was ‘eugenics with a twist’ – ABA Journal

Eugenics | Define Eugenics at Dictionary.com

Historical Examples

I try so hard not to be afraid of men, for I know they are necessary to eugenics.

They may be bad for your work, but they are worse for eugenics.

It is a sin of our race that the eugenics Office should have bred out–but they have failed.

It is here that the ideals of eugenics may be expected to work fruitfully.

The only compulsion we can apply in eugenics is the compulsion that comes from within.

It has been said that eugenics is futile because it cannot define its end.

British Dictionary definitions for eugenics Expand

(functioning as sing) the study of methods of improving the quality of the human race, esp by selective breeding

Derived Forms

eugenic, adjectiveeugenically, adverbeugenicist, nouneugenist (judnst) noun, adjective

Word Origin

C19: from Greek eugens well-born, from eu- + -gens born; see -gen

Word Origin and History for eugenics Expand

1883, coined (along with adjective eugenic) by English scientist Francis Galton (1822-1911) on analogy of ethics, physics, etc. from Greek eugenes “well-born, of good stock, of noble race,” from eu- “good” (see eu-) + genos “birth” (see genus).

eugenics in Medicine Expand

eugenics eugenics (y-jn’ks) n. The study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding.

eugenics in Culture Expand

The idea that one can improve the human race by careful selection of those who mate and produce offspring.

Continue reading here:

Eugenics | Define Eugenics at Dictionary.com

David Harsanyi: Pro-choicers should explain why eugenics is acceptable – The Union Leader

By DAVID HARSANYI August 20. 2017 11:12PM Due to the rise of prenatal screening tests in Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has begun to diminish significantly. And no one, as CBS News puts it, is eradicating Down syndrome births quite like Iceland.

The word eradication typically implies an ailment is being cured or beaten by some technological advancement. Not so in this case. Nearly 100 percent of women who receive positive test results for Down syndrome in that small nation end up eradicating their pregnancy. Iceland averages only one or two Down syndrome children per year. This seems mostly a result of parents receiving inaccurate test results.

Its just a matter of time until the rest of the world catches up. In the United States, an estimated 67 percent of women who find out their child will be born with Down syndrome opt to have an abortion. In the United Kingdom, its 90 percent. More and more women are taking these prenatal tests, and the tests are becoming increasingly accurate.

For now, however, Iceland has completed one of the most successful eugenics programs in the contemporary world. If you think thats overstated, consider that eugenics the word itself derived from the Greek word meaning well-born is the effort to control breeding to increase desirable heritable characteristics within a population. This can be done through positive selection, as in breeding the right kinds of people with each other, or negative selection, which is stopping the wrong kinds of people from having children.

The latter was the hallmark of the progressive movement of the 1900s. It was the rationalization behind the coerced sterilization of thousands of the mentally ill, poor and minorities here in America. It is why Nazis required doctors to register all newborns born with Down syndrome, and why the first to be gassed were children under 3 years old with serious hereditary diseases like Down syndrome.

Down syndrome usually isnt hereditary. Most children born with it have moderate cognitive or intellectual disabilities, and many live full lives. But for many, these children are considered undesirable inconvenient, really.

If Icelands policy reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling, as geneticist Kari Stefansson admits, then what will it mean when we have the science to extrapolate and pinpoint other problematic traits? How about children with congenital heart defects or cleft palates or sickle-cell disease or autism? Eradication?

One day, a DNA test will be able to tell us virtually anything we want to know, including our tendencies. So heres the best way to frame eradication policies in terms more people might care about: Iceland has made great strides in eradicating gay births or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating low-IQ births or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating the birth of those who lean toward obesity or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating the birth of mixed-race babies. Feel free to insert the facet of humankind that gets you most upset.

How about Iceland has made great strides in eradicating female births? If your circumstance or inconvenience were a justifiable reason to eradicate a pregnancy, why wouldnt a sex-selective abortion be OK? Does the act of abortion transform into something less moral if we feel differently about it? Does the act change because it targets a group of people that we feel is being victimized? What is the ethical difference between a sex-selective abortion and plain-old abortion of a female?

One imagines that most women in Iceland who were carrying a baby with a genetic disorder did not opt to have an abortion because they harbor hate or revulsion toward children with Down syndrome. I assume they had other reasons, including the desire to give birth to a healthy child and avoid the complications that the alternative would pose.

A number of U.S. states have passed or want to pass laws that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex or ethnicity of the fetus. One such U.S. House bill failed in 2012. Most Democrats involved claimed to be against sex-selective abortion, but not one gave a reason why. Thats probably because once you admit that these theoretical choices equate to real-life consequences like eugenics, you are conceding that these are lives were talking about, not blobs. In America, such talk is still frowned upon.

At one hospital in Iceland, Helga Sol Olafsdottir counsels women who have a pregnancy with a chromosomal abnormality, explains the CBS article. She says: We dont look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. A thing? Using an ambiguous noun is a cowardly way to avoid the set of moral questions that pop up when you have to define that thing. And science is making it increasingly difficult to circumvent that debate.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

Health Politics Religion Social issues Oped

Read the original here:

David Harsanyi: Pro-choicers should explain why eugenics is acceptable – The Union Leader

Pro-Choicers Should Explain Why They Think Eugenics Is Acceptable – The Federalist

Due to the rise of prenatal screening tests, the number of babies born with Down syndrome in the Western world has begun to significantly diminish. And no one, as CBS News puts it, is eradicating Down syndrome births quite like the country of Iceland.

Now, the word eradication typically implies that an ailment is being cured or beaten by some technological advancement. Not so in this case. Nearly 100 percent of women who receive positive tests for Down syndrome in that small nation end up eradicating their pregnancies. Iceland averages only one or two Down syndrome children per year, and this seems mostly a result of parents receiving inaccurate test results.

Its just a matter of time until the rest of the world catches up. In the United States around 67 percent of women who find out their child will be born with Down syndrome opt to have an abortion. In the United Kingdom its around 90 percent. More and more women are taking these prenatal tests, and the tests are becoming increasingly accurate.

For now, however, Iceland has completed one of the most successful eugenics programs in the contemporary world.If you think thats overstated, consider that eugenics the word itself derived from Greek, meaning well born is nothing more than an effort to control breeding to increase desirable heritable characteristics within a population. This can be done through positive selection, as in breeding the right kinds of people with each other, or in negative selection, which is stopping the wrong kinds of people from having children.

The latter was the hallmark of the progressive movement of the 1900s. It was the rationalization behind the coerced sterilization of thousands of mentally ill, poor, and minorities here in America. It is why real-life Nazis required doctorsto register all newborns born with Down syndrome. And the first humans they gassed were children under three years old with serious hereditary diseases like Down syndrome.

Most often Down syndrome isnt hereditary, of course, but for many these children are considered undesirable really, they are considered inconvenient although most are born with moderate cognitive or intellectual disabilities and many live full lives.

If Icelands policy reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling, as geneticist Kari Stefansson admits in a video, then what will it mean when we have the science to extrapolate on these tests and pinpoint other problematic traits in people? How about children with congenital heart defects or cleft palates or sickle-cell disease or autism? Eradicate?

One day a DNA test will be able to tell us virtually anything we want to know, including our tendencies. So heres the best way to frame the ugliness of these eradication policies in terms more people might care about: Iceland has made great strides in eradicating gay births or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating low-IQ births or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating births of those who lean towards obesity or Iceland has made great strides in eradicating births of mixed-race babies. Feel free to insert the fact of humankind that gets you most upset.

How about, Iceland has made great strides in eradicating female births?

From what I could tell admittedly, this is through social media; I see no polling on the issue most people, many liberals included, reacted to Icelands selective eradication of Down syndrome children negatively. Polling from the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institutehas found that 77 percent believed abortion should be illegal if the sole reason for seeking an abortion was to have a boy or girl.

I dont understand why.If your circumstance or inconvenience is a justifiable reason to eradicate a pregnancy who wants to be punished with a baby, after all? why wouldnt a sex-selective abortion be okay? Does the act of abortion transform into something less moral if we feel differently about it? Does the act change because it targets a group of people that we feel are being victimized? What is the ethical difference between a sex-selective abortion and plain-old abortion of a girl?

One imagines that most women carrying babies with genetic disorders in Iceland did not opt to have abortions because they harbor hate or revulsion towards Down syndrome children. I assume they had other reasons, including the desire to give birth to a healthy child and avoid the complications that the alternative would pose.

A number of U.S. states have passed or want to pass laws that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex, or ethnicity of a fetus. Such a U.S. House bill failed in 2012. Most Democrats involved claimed to be against sex-selective abortion, but not one gave a reason why. Probably because once you admit that these theoretical choices equate to real-life consequences, like eugenics, you are conceding that these are lives were talking about, not blobs. In America, such talk is still frowned upon.

Icelanders, apparently, are more honest:

Over at Landspitali University Hospital, Helga Sol Olafsdottir counsels women who have a pregnancy with a chromosomal abnormality. They speak to her when deciding whether to continue or end their pregnancies. Olafsdottir tells women who are wrestling with the decision or feelings of guilt: This is your life you have the right to choose how your life will look like.

Well, not everyone gets to choose what his or her life looks like. Certainly not those who are eradicated because they suffer from genetic disorders.Then again, We dont look at abortion as a murder, Olafsdottir explains later. We look at it as a thing that we ended. A thing? Using an ambiguous noun is a cowardly way to avoid the set of moral questions that pop up when you have to define that thing. And science is making it increasingly difficult to circumvent that debate.

Read more here:

Pro-Choicers Should Explain Why They Think Eugenics Is Acceptable – The Federalist

CBS News Asks: Is Eugenics Right For You? – The Daily Caller

Last night, CBS News took a break from hyperventilating about the looming Nazi menace to spend a few minutes exploring the benefits of eugenics.

And heres how CBS frames it:

Should the rest of the world follow suit? I thought we answered that question in 1945.

As a lot of people have pointed out, this isnt eliminating Down Syndrome. Its killing people who have an unpreventable genetic abnormality. Its eugenics.

If youre an abortion enthusiast oh, sorry, if you support abortion rights you have no problem with this. You believe that some lives matter more than others. You believe that the difference between a fetus and a baby is up to the mother. You might even believe that its okay to kill a baby because it doesnt have a future because youre killing it.

You believe that a person with problems you dont have, and that youd rather not deal with, isnt really a person.

So why not? After all, youre only ending a pregnancy with an abnormality. Its not as if were talking about a human being.

If you want more liberty and lower taxes and the freedom to say so, youre a Nazi. But not if you want to wipe out the untermenschen to bring about a glorious, genetically perfect future. Thats where we are now.

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CBS News Asks: Is Eugenics Right For You? – The Daily Caller

Suit claims reduced-sentence offer for birth control and sterilization was ‘eugenics with a twist’ – ABA Journal

Constitutional Law

Posted August 21, 2017, 9:14 am CDT

By Debra Cassens Weiss

Mario Williams of Nexus Caridades Attorneys at left; at the podium, Nexus CEO Mike Donovan and plaintiff Christel Ward.

A federal lawsuit filed last week claims a Tennessee a judge and sheriff violated inmates constitutional rights through a program offering reduced jail time if they undergo vasectomies or get contraceptive implants.

The suit, filed on behalf of a woman who didnt get the promised 30 days off her jail term, claims the White County program amounted to eugenics with a twist, Courthouse News Service reports. The Tennessean and the Associated Press also have stories; a press release is here.

The plaintiff, Christel Ward, wants to get her Nexplanon implant removed, but was told she will have to pay $250 for the procedure. Ward was allowed to sign up for the program even though she didnt qualify, according to the suit. The suit seeks an order allowing the implant removal for free, a declaration that the program is unconstitutional and punitive damages.

The complaint alleges that White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe asked Judge Sam Benningfield to issue the standing order offering the sentence reductions. Benningfield issued the order in May and rescinded it July 27 after the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee issued a statement condemning the program.

The suit claims the program violated inmates Fourth and 14th Amendment right to be free from unlawful government coercion. It also claims negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The suit was filed by pro bono lawyers with Nexus Caridades Attorneys Inc., which provides electronic monitoring and immigrant bail bond alternatives.

Mario Williams, a lawyer with Nexus, said at a news conference that 35 women and 42 men had signed up for the program. A spokesman for the sheriff declined to comment when contacted by the Tennessean.

Benningfield had previously said he was trying to help these folks, you know, begin to think about taking responsibility for their life and doing right and giving them a leg up.

More:

Suit claims reduced-sentence offer for birth control and sterilization was ‘eugenics with a twist’ – ABA Journal

Brian Mark Weber: The ‘Brave New World’ of Down Syndrome … – Patriot Post

Brian Mark Weber Aug. 18, 2017

In the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, readers are presented with a dystopian vision of the future in which the whole process of conception and birth is delegated to the scientific community. Parents have no emotional connection to their children, and motherhood itself is considered embarrassing and obscene.

The novel, written in 1931, seemed far-fetched at the time. Yet it wasnt long after Huxley penned his dark and frightening tale that science and politics began to consider the implications, and the possibilities, of playing God with human reproduction in order to bring about desired results.

Columnist David Harsanyi writes, [Negative selection eugenics] was the rationalization behind the coerced sterilization of thousands of mentally ill, poor, and minorities here in America. It is why real-life Nazis required doctors to register all newborns born with Down syndrome. And the first humans they gassed were children under three years old with serious hereditary diseases like Down syndrome.

But why wait? Aborting unborn children with Down syndrome is gaining acceptance once again, and the latest wave of news is from Iceland. Yet the childs suffering or the elimination of a human life doesnt seem to be part of the conversation, nor does the post-abortion health of the mother.

Whats interesting is that, according to Kevin Burke in the Washington Examiner, About 80 percent of parents facing the same diagnosis, who were provided with the option of perinatal hospice care for the child and family, chose to carry their disabled child to term. Apparently, most parents planning to abort their children dont receive this advice.

Burke adds, Those who advocate for routine screening to detect fetal disabilities also fail to advise parents of the potential for serious post-abortion reactions. The fallout from this loss can place a tremendous strain on couples as they struggle with the shock and pain that can follow the abortion. Some abortion advocates may concede that some women suffer symptoms of depression and grief immediately after termination of disabled babies, but they see this as a short-term condition. Research, however, confirms that women often suffer symptoms of emotional trauma and complicated grief years after such procedures.

Sadly, and just like the people in Brave New World, Icelanders no longer seem to value human life. Parents who fail to think of their unborn child as human are less likely to keep their child when the options are presented to them.

As Helga Sol Olafsdottir, a counselor at Landspitali University Hospital, helpfully explains, We dont look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication preventing suffering for the child and for the family.

A thing? If children are considered things, then it cant be long before countries like Iceland start passing their own version of Nazi Germanys Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring.

How far away is it when people like Princeton University professor Elizabeth Harman say, Some early fetuses will die in early pregnancy due to abortion or miscarriage. And in my view that is a very different kind of entity. Thats something that doesnt have a future as a person and it doesnt have moral status.

While those on the Left may rush to defend a program that frees parents from the burden of raising a disabled child, they should seriously think about the implications of going down this path.

The situation is not much better in the United States, where nearly two-thirds of American women whose prenatal screening tests reveal Down syndrome choose to have an abortion. Fortunately, theres still some resistance at the political level.

Harsanyi notes, A number of U.S. states have passed or want to pass laws that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex, or ethnicity of a fetus. Such a U.S. House bill failed in 2012. Most Democrats involved claimed to be against sex-selective abortion, but not one gave a reason why. Probably because once you admit that these theoretical choices equate to real-life consequences, like eugenics, you are conceding that these are lives were talking about, not blobs.

And what if science develops to the point where we can identify other traits in humanity that parents may find undesirable: a genetic heart condition or a low IQ or, where it would really hit home for leftists, homosexuality? Gender-based abortions of girls are already the norm in Communist China. When society reaches the point where only desirable children are allowed to enter this world, are we still a civilization? And if a free society lacks the moral compass to speak out against this practice, how can we oppose another government that one day might decide that Jews, Africans or Christians are a problem?

These are the questions that should be asked before science allows us to discover even more undesirable traits in unborn children, and before the political class yields to social and cultural decay. Lets face it: Were living in a Brave New World today. But unlike the society in Huxleys novel, we must summon the courage and decency to end the ghastly practice of eugenics.

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Brian Mark Weber: The ‘Brave New World’ of Down Syndrome … – Patriot Post

Down syndrome in Iceland: The disturbing, eugenics-like reality that … – Quartz

Recently, a CBS news crew traveled to Iceland, producing a report titled Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing. As much as it sounds like it, the headline is not clickbait or hyperbole: In Iceland, nearly every women who undergoes prenatal testing and whose fetus receives a diagnosis of Down syndrome decides to end her pregnancy. Each year, according to their sources, only a child or two is born with Down syndrome in Iceland.

Up to 85% of pregnant women in Iceland choose to take prenatal testing. The specific test in question, which CBS calls the combination test, takes into account ultrasound images, a blood draw, and a mothers age to determine the likelihood that a fetus has Down syndrome. (Older mothers are more likely to have babies with Down syndrome because chromosomal errors are more likely as women age.)

In essence, pregnant women in Icelandand presumably their partnersare saying that life with disability is not worth living. It is one thing to decide that a child who will never walk, talk, feed herself, or engage with caregivers may not have a good quality of life. But children with Down syndrome do not fit this description. If a woman doesnt want to have a child with Down syndrome, their bar for what qualifies as a life worth living is set quite high. Are babies who are born deaf destined to lead a worthwhile life? What about babies with cleft palates, which can be corrected but leave a visible scar?

Heres the interesting thing: Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21 as it is also called, is actually one of the less severe chromosomal conditions. Unlike many other trisomies (genetic conditions in which a person has three copies of a chromosome instead of the standard two), its compatible with life.

People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of their 21st chromosome, which causes intellectual delays and readily identifiable facial features such as almond-shaped eyes. But the way that Down syndrome expresses itself in an individual can be highly variable. About half of babies born with Down syndrome have heart defects that require surgical correction. Some children with Down syndrome grow up to be adults who go to college and get married; others never live independently.

Can she live a full life without without ever solving a quadratic equation? Without reading Dostoyevsky? Im pretty sure she can.I have interviewed Amy Julia Becker many times over the years. Becker wrote a book about her daughter, Penny, who has Down syndrome. In A Good and Perfect Gift, Becker, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton, chronicles her shift in thinking about intelligence. Pre-Penny, she had assumed that being smart is a prerequisite for being happy and fulfilled. Post-Penny, she changed her mind. Can she live a full life without without ever solving a quadratic equation? Without reading Dostoyevsky? Im pretty sure she can. Can I live a full life without learning to cherish and welcome those in this world who are different from me? Im pretty sure I cant.

Deciding what sorts of lives are worth living brings us disturbingly close to the bygone era of eugenics, when only the right sorts of people were supposed to procreate.

In 1927, a US Supreme Court decision upheld the right of the state of Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, whose daughter, Vivian, was deemed to be feeble-minded. Paul Lombardo, a professor of law at Georgia State University who is an expert on eugenics, believes that Vivian was in fact of normal intelligence. Eventuallyand fortunatelyeugenics fell out of favor, and several US states have issued apologies to people who were forcibly sterilized over the years. Yet the bias against people with disabilities is still very much evident.

When I interviewed Lombardo for my book, The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have KidsAnd the Kids We Have, he noted that theres a long list of physical and mental disabilities that people find discomfiting. At the top of that list? Intellectual disabilities.In other words, Down syndrome and other similar conditions that result in people not being able to pursue a PhD or do quantum physics are often seen as bigger impediments to a life worth living than physical impairments. But is that our choice to make for them?

Deciding that people with Down syndrome dont live worthwhile lives can snowball into a groupthink situation. It will become less and less acceptable to raise a child with Down syndrome, and that will translate into fewer support services available to parents who decide to buck the trend. The lack of support will further encourage women to terminate their pregnancies, leading to even fewer babies born with the condition in the future. If we continue to follow this path, the disappearance of Down syndrome will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And to what end?

You can follow Bonnie on Twitter. Learn how to write for Quartz Ideas. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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Down syndrome in Iceland: The disturbing, eugenics-like reality that … – Quartz

Nexus Services, Inc. Announced Federal Lawsuit Practice of Eugenics at the Hands of White County Sheriff, Judge … – Markets Insider

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Nexus Caridades Attorneys Inc. announced comprehensive civil action against White County, White County Judge, Sam Benningfield, White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe, and White County personnel involved in the resurgence of eugenics in our country.

View/Download Entire Press Conference:Click for Facebook Live Coverage View/Download Entire Complaint ViaDrop Box: Ward v. Stroupe, et al, Federal Lawsuit

The lawsuit states, “Simply put, in 2017, our country has come too far with respect to promoting the inherent worth and dignity of people (incarcerated or otherwise), to go this far backwards.”The lawsuit further points out “White County Jail inmates, including Ms. Ward, had Nexplanon injected into their arms in exchange for a promised 30-day jail time reduction prior to Judge Benningfield’s order,” therefore, “In his capacity as Sheriff, Shoupe, was the final policy maker for White County with respect to all health programs in which White County Jail inmates participated.”

Mike Donovan, Civil Rights Advocate, and President and CEO of Nexus Services, Inc. stated during the press conference, “This is not about sentence reduction.It’s not about family planning.It is about who Sheriff Shoupe considers undesirable to procreate in White County.” Donovan added, “That the sheriff and the judge are playing God.

Attorney, Mario Williams, Chief of the Nexus Caridades, Inc. Civil Rights Division also addressed the media imploring: “The number one question we should ask, is a Constitutional Right. The law already says that Americans shall be free from coercion about making decisions about reproductive rights and procreation.”

Prior to a judge’s order, the lawsuit states,” [Sheriff] Shoupe ordered his subordinate Daniels to take Ms. Ward and each person that completed the Department of Health Neonatal Syndrome Education (NAS) Program to the White County Jail Infirmary so that Ms. Ward and others could be sterilized by officials from the Tennessee Department of Health.”

The suit is being filed by Nexus Caridades Attorneys Inc. Nexus Caridades Attorneys Inc. is one of the largest providers of pro bono legal services in the country.Nexus Caridades, Inc. is committed to standing up for victims of abuse by government agencies and officials.http://www.nexuscaridades.com/

Nexus Services, Inc. is a leading provider of immigrant bail securitization and electronic monitoring. The organization funds Nexus Caridades Attorneys Inc. as part of its corporate giving and in an effort to increase access to justice for disadvantaged people across the United States.http://www.nexushelps.com/

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Jen LittleDirector of Public RelationsNexus Services, Inc. Mobile: 540-255-9492 rel=”nofollow”>jlittle@nexushelps.com nexushelps.com

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nexus-services-inc-announced-federal-lawsuit-practice-of-eugenics-at-the-hands-of-white-county-sheriff-judge-sheriffs-deputy–white-county-administration-300506676.html

SOURCE Nexus Services Inc.

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Nexus Services, Inc. Announced Federal Lawsuit Practice of Eugenics at the Hands of White County Sheriff, Judge … – Markets Insider

Brian Mark Weber: The ‘Brave New World’ of Down Syndrome … – Patriot Post

Brian Mark Weber Aug. 18, 2017

In the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, readers are presented with a dystopian vision of the future in which the whole process of conception and birth is delegated to the scientific community. Parents have no emotional connection to their children, and motherhood itself is considered embarrassing and obscene.

The novel, written in 1931, seemed far-fetched at the time. Yet it wasnt long after Huxley penned his dark and frightening tale that science and politics began to consider the implications, and the possibilities, of playing God with human reproduction in order to bring about desired results.

Columnist David Harsanyi writes, [Negative selection eugenics] was the rationalization behind the coerced sterilization of thousands of mentally ill, poor, and minorities here in America. It is why real-life Nazis required doctors to register all newborns born with Down syndrome. And the first humans they gassed were children under three years old with serious hereditary diseases like Down syndrome.

But why wait? Aborting unborn children with Down syndrome is gaining acceptance once again, and the latest wave of news is from Iceland. Yet the childs suffering or the elimination of a human life doesnt seem to be part of the conversation, nor does the post-abortion health of the mother.

Whats interesting is that, according to Kevin Burke in the Washington Examiner, About 80 percent of parents facing the same diagnosis, who were provided with the option of perinatal hospice care for the child and family, chose to carry their disabled child to term. Apparently, most parents planning to abort their children dont receive this advice.

Burke adds, Those who advocate for routine screening to detect fetal disabilities also fail to advise parents of the potential for serious post-abortion reactions. The fallout from this loss can place a tremendous strain on couples as they struggle with the shock and pain that can follow the abortion. Some abortion advocates may concede that some women suffer symptoms of depression and grief immediately after termination of disabled babies, but they see this as a short-term condition. Research, however, confirms that women often suffer symptoms of emotional trauma and complicated grief years after such procedures.

Sadly, and just like the people in Brave New World, Icelanders no longer seem to value human life. Parents who fail to think of their unborn child as human are less likely to keep their child when the options are presented to them.

As Helga Sol Olafsdottir, a counselor at Landspitali University Hospital, helpfully explains, We dont look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication preventing suffering for the child and for the family.

A thing? If children are considered things, then it cant be long before countries like Iceland start passing their own version of Nazi Germanys Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring.

How far away is it when people like Princeton University professor Elizabeth Harman say, Some early fetuses will die in early pregnancy due to abortion or miscarriage. And in my view that is a very different kind of entity. Thats something that doesnt have a future as a person and it doesnt have moral status.

While those on the Left may rush to defend a program that frees parents from the burden of raising a disabled child, they should seriously think about the implications of going down this path.

The situation is not much better in the United States, where nearly two-thirds of American women whose prenatal screening tests reveal Down syndrome choose to have an abortion. Fortunately, theres still some resistance at the political level.

Harsanyi notes, A number of U.S. states have passed or want to pass laws that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex, or ethnicity of a fetus. Such a U.S. House bill failed in 2012. Most Democrats involved claimed to be against sex-selective abortion, but not one gave a reason why. Probably because once you admit that these theoretical choices equate to real-life consequences, like eugenics, you are conceding that these are lives were talking about, not blobs.

And what if science develops to the point where we can identify other traits in humanity that parents may find undesirable: a genetic heart condition or a low IQ or, where it would really hit home for leftists, homosexuality? Gender-based abortions of girls are already the norm in Communist China. When society reaches the point where only desirable children are allowed to enter this world, are we still a civilization? And if a free society lacks the moral compass to speak out against this practice, how can we oppose another government that one day might decide that Jews, Africans or Christians are a problem?

These are the questions that should be asked before science allows us to discover even more undesirable traits in unborn children, and before the political class yields to social and cultural decay. Lets face it: Were living in a Brave New World today. But unlike the society in Huxleys novel, we must summon the courage and decency to end the ghastly practice of eugenics.

See the original post here:

Brian Mark Weber: The ‘Brave New World’ of Down Syndrome … – Patriot Post

Pro-Choicers Should Explain Why They Think Eugenics Is Acceptable – Townhall

|

Posted: Aug 18, 2017 12:01 AM

Due to the rise of prenatal screening tests in Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has begun to diminish significantly. And no one, as CBS News puts it, is “eradicating Down syndrome births” quite like Iceland.

Now, the word “eradication” typically implies that an ailment is being cured or beaten by some technological advancement. That’s not so in this case. Nearly 100 percent of women who receive positive test results for Down syndrome in that small nation end up eradicating their pregnancy. Iceland averages only one or two Down syndrome children per year, and this seems mostly a result of parents receiving inaccurate test results.

It’s just a matter of time until the rest of the world catches up. In the United States, an estimated 67 percent of women who find out their child will be born with Down syndrome opt to have an abortion. In the United Kingdom, it’s 90 percent. More and more women are taking these prenatal tests, and the tests are becoming increasingly accurate.

For now, however, Iceland has completed one of the most successful eugenics programs in the contemporary world. If you think that’s overstated, consider that eugenics — the word itself derived from the Greek word meaning “well-born” — is the effort to control breeding to increase desirable heritable characteristics within a population. This can be done through “positive selection,” as in breeding the “right” kinds of people with each other, or “negative selection,” which is stopping the wrong kinds of people from having children.

The latter was the hallmark of the progressive movement of the 1900s. It was the rationalization behind the coerced sterilization of thousands of the mentally ill, poor and minorities here in America. It is why Nazis required doctors to register all newborns born with Down syndrome, and why the first to be gassed were children under 3 years old with “serious hereditary diseases” like Down syndrome.

Down syndrome usually isn’t hereditary. Most children born with it have moderate cognitive or intellectual disabilities, and many live full lives. But for many, these children are considered undesirable — “inconvenient,” really.

If Iceland’s policy “reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling,” as geneticist Kari Stefansson admits, then what will it mean when we have the science to extrapolate and pinpoint other problematic traits? How about children with congenital heart defects or cleft palates or sickle-cell disease or autism? Eradication?

One day, a DNA test will be able to tell us virtually anything we want to know, including our tendencies. So here’s the best way to frame eradication policies in terms more people might care about: “Iceland has made great strides in eradicating gay births” or “Iceland has made great strides in eradicating low-IQ births” or “Iceland has made great strides in eradicating the birth of those who lean toward obesity” or “Iceland has made great strides in eradicating the birth of mixed-race babies.” Feel free to insert the facet of humankind that gets you most upset.

How about “Iceland has made great strides in eradicating female births”? If your circumstance or inconvenience were a justifiable reason to eradicate a pregnancy, why wouldn’t a sex-selective abortion be OK? Does the act of abortion transform into something less moral if we feel differently about it? Does the act change because it targets a group of people that we feel is being victimized? What is the ethical difference between a sex-selective abortion and plain-old abortion of a female?

One imagines that most women in Iceland who were carrying a baby with a genetic disorder did not opt to have an abortion because they harbor hate or revulsion toward children with Down syndrome. I assume they had other reasons, including the desire to give birth to a healthy child and avoid the complications that the alternative would pose.

A number of U.S. states have passed or want to pass laws that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex or ethnicity of the fetus. One such U.S. House bill failed in 2012. Most Democrats involved claimed to be against sex-selective abortion, but not one gave a reason why. That’s probably because once you admit that these theoretical choices equate to real-life consequences like eugenics, you are conceding that these are lives we’re talking about, not blobs. In America, such talk is still frowned upon.

At one hospital in Iceland, “Helga Sol Olafsdottir counsels women who have a pregnancy with a chromosomal abnormality,” explains the CBS article. She says: “We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended.” A thing? Using an ambiguous noun is a cowardly way to avoid the set of moral questions that pop up when you have to define that “thing.” And science is making it increasingly difficult to circumvent that debate.

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Pro-Choicers Should Explain Why They Think Eugenics Is Acceptable – Townhall

SHOCKING Eugenics in Iceland: Nearly All Babies with Down Syndrome Aborted – CBN News

Iceland has nearly achieved a shocking goal the country has eliminated almost 100 percent of children with Down syndrome.

They’ve aborted almost all of them.

CBS News reports it’s due to widespread use of prenatal screening.

Even though most people born with Down syndrome live long, healthy lives, most pregnant women in Iceland choose to abort these babies. Only one or two babies with the disorder slip past the screening process each year.

Other countries are doing the same thing. Denmark has aborted 98 percent and the U.S. has aborted at least 67 percent of babies with this genetic disorder.

Wednesday, Christian evangelist Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a quadriplegic in a wheelchair for 50 years following a diving accident, issued a statement saying, “Over 25 years ago when I served on the National Council on Disability, we responded vehemently against a report from the National Institutes on Health which listed abortion as a ‘disability prevention strategy.’ All 15 bi-partisan council members strongly advised the NIH to remove any reference which used abortion as a tactic in eliminating disability.”

She added,”Each individual, no matter how significantly impaired, is an image-bearer of our Creator God. And people with Down syndrome are arguably some of the most contented and happy people on the planet. From them, we learn unconditional love and joyful acceptance of others who appear different. Now, even that is in jeopardy of being eradicated.”

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America also spoke out against the practice.

“Iceland sounds like they are proud of the fact that they’ve killed nearly all unborn babies that had an in-utero diagnosis of Down syndrome,” Nance said. “This is not a medical advancement. This is eugenics and barbarianism at best.” And Dr. James Dobson wrote, “I have rarely seen a story that so closely resembles Nazi-era eugenics as a recent report about Iceland ‘eradicating’ nearly 100 percent of Down syndrome births through abortion.”

“We should all be deeply sorrowful and outraged. This practice is as equally inhumane as the views of the racist bigots who disgraced our country in Charlottesville this past weekend,” he continued.

Pro-life actress Patricia Heaton is also weighing in.

“Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down Syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference,” Heaton tweeted.

This high number of abortions in the U.S. and elsewhere are because of a simple, new blood test that detects Down syndrome. The test is non-invasive and can be performed early in pregnancy. Therefore, many, if not most, women have it.

Before today’s non-invasive blood test, the test to determine whether an unborn child had Down syndrome, by comparison, was rarely performed. Called an amniocentesis, it was invasive and could have damaged, even killed, the baby. It was performed in the later stages of pregnancy and involved inserting a needle into the mother’s placenta to extract amniotic fluid.

Today, the reason so many women choose to abort their Down syndrome babies is because they believe their child’s life is not worth living. However,parents of Down syndrome childrensay that’snot true.

For example, whenCherry Jensengave birth to a Down syndrome baby, she recalls how her doctors vastly underestimated how high her daughter would function. Now Cherry uses her daughter’s story to convince other women to keep their unborn Down syndrome children. There are many stories of people with Down syndrome who are successful inbusiness, sports and other endeavors, evenmodeling.

A coffee shop is Wilimington, North Carolina is giving people with Down Syndrome the chance to work. Check out the story here.

According to astudyof parents of children with Down syndrome:

According to astudyof people with Down syndrome over age 12:

7MYTHSabout people with Down syndrome:

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SHOCKING Eugenics in Iceland: Nearly All Babies with Down Syndrome Aborted – CBN News


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