Eugenics Essay

710 WordsMay 15, 20133 Pages
Eugenics Paper Eugenics is the science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race; also with those that develop them to the utmost advantage. Since the idea of eugenics was invented in the late 1800s, there have been numerous debates over whether it is morally, or even scientifically, acceptable. Some believe that the “science” of eugenics will help limit feeble-mindedness and make for a better genetic makeup of a population, while most feel that eugenics is simply immoral. The argument against eugenics is based around unnecessary sterilization and even racial extermination, like Hitler’s Final Solution. The first act of sterilization occurred in 1899 by Harry Clay Sharp in Indiana, who believed in degeneracy through masturbation. Sharp was a prison physician who carried out vasectomies on prisoners. This led to the first sterilization law in the United States. Another example of sterilization was the Carrie Buck case. Carrie was accused of traits of feeblemindedness (mental-deficiencies), and sexual promiscuity. She was the first person to be sterilized under Virginia’s sterilization law in 1927. The idea behind sterilization was that people with ‘un-favourable’ traits (mentally-ill, handicapped, etc.) would be unable to pass on these traits to future generations. The problem was that eugenicists did not consider environmental and social circumstances that could affect one’s “feeblemindedness”. For example, Carrie Buck was raped by a relative of her foster family, which was likely to be the reason why she was institutionalized. Her “mental deficiency” was due to her life experiences, not her genes. Francis Galton, who coined the term eugenics in 1883, perceived it as a moral philosophy to improve humanity by encouraging the ablest and healthiest people to have more children. Although Eugenics has been

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