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Scope Note 28: Eugenics


The word eugenics (from the Greek eugenes or wellborn) was coined in 1883 by Francis Galton, an Englishman and cousin of Charles Darwin, who applied Darwinian science to develop theories about heredity and good or noble birth. (I, Kevles 1985, p. x).

The Encyclopedia of Bioethics "Eugenics" entry notes that the term has had different meanings in different eras: "a science that investigates methods to ameliorate the genetic composition of the human race, a program to foster such betterment; a social movement; and in its perverted form, a pseudo-scientific retreat for bigots and racists" (V, Ludmerer 1978, p. 457). Kevles, with a stronger emphasis on its degeneration, says that by 1935 "eugenics had become `hopelessly perverted' into a pseudoscientific facade for `advocates of race and class prejudice, defenders of vested interests of church and state, Fascists, Hitlerites, and reactionaries generally'" (I, Kevles 1985, p. 164).

Phrases such as "survival of the fittest" and "struggle for existence" came into use at the end of the 19th century when eugenics societies were created throughout the world to popularize genetic science. `Negative eugenics' utilized marriage restriction, sterilization, or custodial commitment of those thought to have unwanted characteristics. `Positive eugenics' tried to encourage the population perceived as the "best and brightest" to have more offspring (V, Ludmerer, 1978, p. 459).

In the United States, after World War I, new ideas like the importance of environmental influences and the more complex concept of multi-gene effects in inheritance had slowed scientific justification for eugenics, but this knowledge did not slow pressure for legislation, judicial action, or immigration controls. The U.S. Immigration Restriction Act of 1924 favored immigration from northern Europe and greatly restricted the entry of persons from other areas referred to as "biologically inferior." Between 1907 and 1937 thirty-two states required sterilization of various citizens viewed as undesirable: the mentally ill or handicapped, those convicted of sexual, drug, or alcohol crimes and others viewed as "degenerate" (V, Larson 1991).

In Germany interest in eugenics flourished after the turn of the century when Dr. Alfred Ploetz founded the Archives of Race-Theory and Social Biology in 1904 and the German Society of Racial Hygiene in 1905. The German term Rassenhygiene or race hygiene was broader than the word eugenics; it included all attempts at improving hereditary qualities as well as measures directed at population increase (III, Weiss 1987). By the 1920s various German textbooks incorporated ideas of heredity and racial hygiene, and German professors were participating in the international eugenics movement. The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics was founded in 1927; by 1933 a sterilization law which had been entitled "Eugenics in the service of public welfare" indicated compulsory sterilization "for the prevention of progeny with hereditary defects" in cases of "congenital mental defects, schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis, hereditary epilepsy... and severe alcoholism." (III, Müller-Hill 1988, p. 10).

The co-mingling of science, politics, and Weltanschauung (ideological or religious world view) caused the darkest period for eugenics when Nazi Germans embarked on their "final solution" to the Jewish question, or the Holocaust. The Nazi racial hygiene program began with involuntary sterilizations and ended with genocide. Beginning with the 1933 Law for the Prevention of Congenitally Ill Progeny, 350,000 schizophrenics and mentally ill were involuntarily sterilized, and marriage or sexual contact between Jews and other Germans was banned. A few hundred black children and 30,000 German Gypsies were sterilized. By 1945, when the allies liberated those remaining in Nazi concentration camps, six million Jews, 750,000 Gypsies, and 70,000 German psychiatric patients had been killed by the Nazis (III, Müller-Hill 1992, p. 47). After the German experience, eugenic thought was at its nadir, and to the present, the term "eugenics" invokes a sense of horror in some people.

Great Britain, the United States and Germany were the countries most involved with eugenic science in the first half of this century, but interest was always present in Europe and other parts of the world. Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway and Sweden had eugenics movements of their own. With the rise of new genetic technologies, and the technical ability to change an individual's genetic heritage, eugenics is once again a topic both discussed and written about throughout the world.

Since World War II, interest in the type of eugenics popular in the early half of the century has changed. Utilizing gene therapy, genetic testing and screening, and genetic counseling, scientists and clinicians use knowledge of inherited disease or other genetic problems to change (for the better) those persons who can be assisted. Still, questions are raised about the morality of changing human genes, the wisdom of acting when no cure is available, or the legality of breaching a patient's genetic confidentiality. Most geneticists and other health professionals think that to proscribe any genetic intervention would be wrong since people "need and deserve to have whatever information may be available concerning genetic risks, genetic disorders, and modes of treatment" even if problems may be inherent in genetic screening, counseling or therapy (I, Kevles 1985, p. 291).

Concepts central to the old eugenics have not completely disappeared: recent Chinese law, the Law on Maternal and Infant Health Care, which took effect June 1, 1995, requires premarital checkups to determine whether either partner carries "genetic diseases of a serious nature", infectious diseases (AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis and leprosy), or a "relevant mental disease." The law stipulates that marriages will be permitted only after the couple has been sterilized (IV, Tomlinson 1994, p. 1319). In speaking of the then draft legislation in 1993, a health minister cited statistics showing that China "now has more than ten million disabled persons who could have been prevented through better controls" (V, Tyler 1993, p. A9).

Scope Note 28 provides citations to literature concerned with the history and background of the eugenic movement and its policies or programs. Eugenic references have been made in recent articles concentrating on gene therapy, genetic testing and screening, prenatal diagnosis, selective abortion, embryo research, or anencephalic organ transplants. Many of these topics are covered in other Scope Notes in this series or may be searched on BIOETHICSLINE®.


Adams, Mark B., ed. The Wellborn Science: Eugenics in Germany, France, Brazil, and Russia. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. 242 p.

Professor Adams provides an overview of eugenics movements in Germany (1904-1945), in France (1890-1940), in Brazil (1917-1940), and in Russia (1900-1940). A comparative history of eugenics concludes the book, in which Adams discusses what he calls myths about eugenics: eugenics was not a single, coherent, Anglo-American movement with unified goals and beliefs; that eugenics was not intrinsically bound up with Mendelian genetics; and that eugenics was not a pseudoscience.

Agar, Nicholas. Designing Babies: Morally Permissible Ways to Modify the Human Genome. Bioethics 9(1): 1-15, January 1995.
Describing genetic intervention which is morally acceptable as therapeutic, i.e., that which "aims to remedy defects not present in normal humans", Agar says eugenic engineering occurs when the goal is "to produce individuals whose capacities go beyond the normal." He argues that there may be some permissible interventions which could be perceived as eugenic; he uses physical agility and enhanced intelligence as examples.

American Society of Human Genetics. Board of Directors. ASHG Statement: Eugenics and the Misuse of Genetic Information to Restrict Reproductive Freedom. American Journal of Human Genetics 64(2): 335-338, February 1999.
Educating the public is the best way "to prevent genetic information from being used to restrict reproductive freedom...." The ASHG deplores any laws, regulations or other means that would restrain or constrain reproductive freedom on the basis of genetic characteristics of either the parents or potential offspring and urges international cooperation to meet this goal.

Antonak, Richard F.; Mulick, James A.; Kobe, Frank H.; and Fiedler, C.R. Influence of Mental Retardation Severity and Respondent Characteristics on Self-reported Attitudes Toward Mental Retardation and Eugenics. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 39(4): 316-325, August 1995.
The authors surveyed 380 health and human service persons and 192 undergraduate students from other fields of study, finding that "increasing mental retardation severity was related to increasing endorsement of eugenic principles, independent of global attitudes toward people with mental retardation." They opine since the group queried had access to higher education and to people with mental retardation, that eugenic principles may be underestimated in general samples of American society.

Bassett, William W. Eugenics and Religious Law: Christianity. In Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Revised Edition. Warren T. Reich, ed. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1995, 779-783.
The author describes marriage laws in various Christian traditions suggesting an awareness of eugenic foundations, and provides a wide-ranging historical bibliography.

Bayertz, Kurt. The Evolution of Eugenics. In his GenEthics: Technological Intervention in Human Reproduction as a Philosophical Problem. Cambridge, England: University Press, 1994, pp. 39-58.
Bayertz presents a history of eugenics with a view to its place in the technological revolution that has taken place in human reproduction.
Duster, Troy. Backdoor to Eugenics. New York: Routledge, 1990. 201 p.
Sociology professor Duster concentrates on the social and political implications of the new genetic technologies (prenatal testing, the Human Genome Project, gene therapy, recombinant-DNA growth hormones) and the impact these new developments could have on identifiable groups such as Jews, Scandinavians, African-Americans, Italians, and Arabs. As new technologies make identifying these groups simpler, researchers may leave the door open for genetic discrimination and eugenics in the future. The public is urged to become literate about the new technologies and to consider the possible uses (good and bad) to which they can be put.

Feldman, David M. Eugenics and Religious Law: Judaism. In Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Revised Edition. Warren T. Reich, ed. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1995, pp. 777-779.
Feldman interprets Talmudic discussion of eugenic principles including hereditary factors.
Fenner, David E.W. Negative Eugenics and Ethical Decisions. Journal of Medical Humanities 17(1): 17-30, Spring 1996.
Fenner calls "negative eugenics" the ability to eliminate some trait in following generations. Saying that these practices have been available for many years, he expresses a need for criteria if traits are to be erased, and suggests questions and criteria for the future.
Friedman, J.M. Eugenics and the "New Genetics." Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 35 (1): 145-54, Autumn 1991.
Friedman writes that advances in molecular biology have improved understanding in human genetics giving rise to an extensive genetic technology. However, this knowledge provides "little scientific foundation for eugenics" which he defines as "improvement of the human species by selective breeding." He thinks that any eugenic improvement entails a substantial social cost which cannot be justified.

Galton, Francis. Essays in Eugenics. New York: Garland, 1985. 109 p.
Sir Francis Galton's essays were originally published by the Eugenics Education Society in 1909. Collected here are historically significant essays on the possible improvement of the human breed, eugenics (definition, scope, and aims), restrictions in marriage, studies in national eugenics, eugenics and religion, probability (the foundation of eugenics), and local association for promoting eugenics.

Glannon, Walter. Genes, Embryos, and Future People. Bioethics 12(3): 187-211, July 1998.
Glannon writes that "the testing and selective termination of genetically defective embryos is the only medically and morally defensible way to prevent the existence of people with severe disability, pain and suffering that make their lives not worth living for them on the whole."

Garver, Kenneth L.; and Garver, Bettylee. Eugenics, Euthanasia and Genocide. Linacre Quarterly 59 (3): 24-51, August 1992.
The authors review the background of the American and German eugenics movements (including religious views of the time), commenting on present day and future eugenic actions. They urge caution, saying that some current medical practices can be considered negative eugenics which threaten the privacy and rights of individuals, and recommend awareness of the "subtle influences of economic pressures and the increasing reliance on utilitarian cost-effective criteria for making genetic decisions."

Garver, Kenneth L.; and Garver, Bettylee. The Human Genome Project and Eugenic Concerns. American Journal of Human Genetics 54 (1): 148-58, January 1994.
Saying the Human Genome Project will lead to better screening and diagnosis of genetic diseases, and hopefully to cure for genetic disease, the Garvers point out that in the past, in Germany and the United States, genetic information has been misused.

Genetics, Eugenics and Evolution. British Journal for the History of Science 22 (3): 257-375, September 1989.
This special issue contains six articles on eugenics covering British, German, and Scandinavian developments. Contents include: Generation and the Origin of the Species by M.S.J. Hodge; Development and Adaptation in British Morphology by Peter Bowler; Dimensions of Scientific Controversy by Robert Olby; The 'Sonderweg' of German Eugenics by Paul Weindling; Geneticists and the Eugenics Movement in Scandinavia by Nils Roll-Hansen; and Biology of Stupidity by David Barker.

Gray, Paul. Cursed by Eugenics. Time 153(1): 84-85, January 11, 1999. [Special Issue: The Future of Medicine: How Genetic Engineering Will Change Us in the Next Century].
Gray thinks that when "science promises such dazzling advances" it is a good time to look at the rise and fall of eugenics which he describes as a "cautionary tale." Eugenics flaws may seem obvious now, but the errors caused "unintended consequences for millions of people." He urges the public to think of these scientists the next time one hears of "promoting the scientific improvement of the human race."

Harris, John. Is Gene Therapy a Form of Eugenics? Bioethics 7 (2/3): 178-87, April 1993.
Harris tackles the question of whether we should use genetic technologies to enhance the human race, or to cure dysfunctions, and whether there is a relevant moral distinction between the two applications of gene therapy.

Holtzman, Neil A., and Rothstein, Mark A. Eugenics and Genetic Discrimination. American Journal of Human Genetics 50 (3): 457-59, March 1992.
Current incidents in the news indicate concerns that negative eugenics is alive and well in the United States. "The threat of eugenics and genetic discrimination comes not only from meddlesome social commentators and political demagogues but from the increasing economics pressures on our employment system that remains largely responsible for access to private health insurance and health care."

Hunt, John. Perfecting Humankind: A Comparison of Progressive and Nazi Views on Eugenics, Sterilization and Abortion. Linacre Quarterly 66(1): 129-141, February 1999.
An overall picture of the international eugenics movement is outlined with emphasis on the roles that the United States and Germany played in fostering eugenic thinking. Although eugenics is a "discredited science today," Hunt fears that current abortion and sterilization rates along with managed care economics could be a source of concern regarding a return of eugenics in America.

Huxley, Julian. Eugenics in Evolutionary Perspective. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 6 (2): 155-87, Winter 1963.
Huxley holds that natural selection has brought humankind to its present highly imperfect, unfinished type which has a potential for future development if genetic "deterioration" is checked. "...eugenics must obviously play an important part in enabling man to fulfill that destiny." Huxley advocates what he calls E.I.D.--eugenic insemination by deliberately preferred donors...."

Jones, Owen D. Reproductive Autonomy and Evolutionary Biology: A Regulatory Framework for Trait-Selection Technologies. American Journal of Law & Medicine 19(3): 187-231, 1993.
Jones presents a model for government protection to allow parents to select certain traits in their offspring while proposing limits in the event the trait were damaging to the future child. He discusses the "eugenic overtones" that this might entail and says that "evil use does not make eugenics evil in nature."

Kevles, Daniel J. Eugenics and the Human Genome Project: Is the Past Prologue? In Justice and the Human Genome Project. Timothy F. Murphy and Marc A. Lappe, eds. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994, pp. 14-29.
Kevles opines that the "shadow of eugenics hangs over any discussion of the social implications of human genetics, but particularly over consideration of the potential impact of the human genome project." Noting the possibility for both positive and negative eugenics, he thinks that present day public policy will offset any return to eugenics since "the past has much to teach about how to avoid repeating its mistakes, not to mentions its sins".

Kevles, Daniel J. Eugenics: Historical Aspects. In Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Revised Edition. Warren T. Reich, ed. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1995, pp. 765-770.
In this overview, Kevles discusses not only historical background, but current genetic concerns including reproductive selection, the Human Genome Project, opposition in Europe to this project, and how economics may provide incentives to negative eugenics. Cross references to several dozen other encyclopedia entries are included.

Kevles, Daniel J. In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity. New York: Knopf, 1985. 426 p.
Providing an extensive history of the development of eugenic thinking and its application in the United States and Great Britain, Kevles describes legislation, court cases, religious viewpoints, scientific flaws, the rise of genetics in medicine, and human genetic research. He concludes that "How the public or politically powerful coalitions, will respond to the steady pressure of problems raised by the advance of genetics depends upon what reconciliation society chooses to make between the ancient antinomies--social obligations as against individual rights and reproductive freedom and privacy as against the requirements of public health and welfare."

Kitcher, Philip. The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 381 p.
Asking whether one will be able to maintain a self-image as increasingly genetic discoveries inform us about the body and the brain, Kitcher discusses the consequences of the genetic revolution. He wonders whether there will be future class systems distinguished by genes or plans for generations to combine certain genes making life a product whose quality could be monitored. He warns that eliminating one form of suffering may only produce other forms, more terrible.

Kobe, Frank H.; and Mulick, James A. Attitudes Toward Mental Rtardation and Eugenics: The Role of Formal Education and Experience. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities 7(1): 1-9, March 1995.
The authors studied the attitudes toward mental retardation and eugenics of 37 university students enrolled in a course in the psychology of mental retardation. Results indicated that while students had a significant increase in knowledge about mental retardation, there was no chane in their eugenics attitude scores. Kobe and Mulick say that while legislation is important, attitude change must occur at the individual level.

Kohn, Marek. The Race Gallery: The Return of Racial Science. London: Jonathan Cape, 1995. 322 p.
Kohn provides background for the eugenics movement in Europe and the United States, and argues that a distorted understanding of genetics and history creates an intellectual climate where racial determinism can thrive. He urges a "science of human diversity" where genetic factors do not raise racial barriers.

Lappe, Marc. Eugenics: Ethical Issues. In Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Revised Edition. Warren T. Reich, ed. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1995, pp. 770-777.
Lappe presents scientific considerations, types of eugenics (positive and negative), ethical perspectives, issues affecting women, genetic counseling factors, eugenic components of prenatal diagnosis, legitimating genetic policies and application of ethical principles to eugenics. Lappe's entry also includes reference to related articles in the Encyclopedia as well as a bibliography.

Ledley, Fred D. Distinguishing Genetics and Eugenics on the Basis of Fairness. Journal of Medical Ethics 20(3): 157-164, September 1994.
Using Rawls theories of justice, Ledley applies principles of fairness to genetic interventions. He claims these principles are "incompatible with negative eugenics which would further penalize those with genetic disadvantage." He defends positive eugenics saying these practices are designed to benefit those who have the least advantage, furthering "a system of basic equal liberties."

Lubinsky, Mark S. Scientific Aspects of Early Eugenics. Journal of Genetic Counseling 2 (2): 77-92, June 1993.
Lubinsky discusses biometry, a school which applied statistics to biology blending inheritance and continuous traits, which he says was part of the early eugenics movement. Mendelian eugenics came from the application of reductionist genetics to human problems with differences seen as primarily genetic, single gene effects. He sees this re-emerging in the reductionism of the Human Genome Project which "may make older eugenic ideas tempting once again."

Marchese, Frank J. The Place of Eugenics in Arnold Gesell's Maturation Theory of Child Development. Canadian Psychology 36(2): 89-114, May 1995.
Calling Gesell one of the most important figures who studied child development, the author thinks that Gesell's early work "reveals sympathies with eugenic ideas" but that as challenges to the eugenics movement grew, Gesell "deemphasized eugenic ideas."

Marks, Jonathan. Human Biodiversity: Genes, Race, and History. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1995. 321 p.
Anthropologist Marks consigns two chapters in his work: one to the eugenics movement and the other to racial and racist anthropology, offering background material as well as explanations of various eugenic theories.

Muller, Hermann J. Human Evolution by Voluntary Choice of Germ Plasm. Science 134 (3480): 643-49, 8 September 1961.
Noting that the term eugenics was in disrepute following the atrocities of World War II, Muller says "a set of hard truths and of genuine ethical values concerning human evolution...cannot be permanently ignored or denied without ultimate disaster." He comments on voluntary contraception, and then suggests artificial insemination by donor or "germ-cell choice" as a means of having offspring of chosen genetic material if parents "elect to depart from that haphazard method" (conventional reproduction).

Nelkin, Dorothy; and Lindee, M. Susan. The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1995. 276 p.
The authors analyze the manner in which the double helix has grasped the public's imagination, affecting both institutional and public policy, and as well as being perceived by individuals as an explanation for personality, violence, behavior, and other traits. They ask if the "DNA mystique portend(s) a `new eugenics' - a dangerous science that locates solutions to social problems in biological controls?" Calling eugenics literature from 1900 to 1935 "vast", they cite various important works and explore the popular culture of DNA, saying that in many respects it functions "as a secular equivalent of the Christian soul."

Neuhaus, Richard John, ed. Guaranteeing the Good Life: Medicine and the Return of Eugenics. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990. 360 p.
Neuhaus writes that the return of eugenics is evident in technologies such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer; gene therapy, fetal and anencephalic tissue transplantation. He includes euthanasia and and other death with dignity issues in his list of the new eugenics. The book includes ten essays which were given as papers at a conference held at the Center on Religion and Society in New York.

The New Genetics. Journal of Medical Ethics [Special Issue] 25(2): 75-214, April 1999.
Eugenics is discussed in seven of the 23 genetics articles in this issue. Daniel Wikler's Can We Learn from Eugenics (pp. 183-194) provides a brief historical summary, looking at four "eugenic doctrines" that are not seen as current problems. He argues that the moral challenge now is to "achieve social justice." Other works are: Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and the "New" Eugenics by David S. King (pp. 176-182); The Social Nature of Disability, Disease and Genetics: A Response to Gillam, Persson, Holtug, Draper and Chadwick by Christopher Newell (pp. 172-175); Prenatal Diagnosis and Discrimination Against the Disabled by Lynn Gillam (pp. 163-171); Equality and Selection for Existence by Ingmar Persson (pp. 130-136); Should Doctors Intentionally Do Less Than the Best by Julian Savulescu (pp. 121-126); and Doctors' Orders, Rationality and the Good Life: Commentary on Savulescu (pp. 127-129).

Paul, Diane B. Controlling Human Heredity: 1865 to the Present. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1995. 158 p.
Paul says that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, eugenics were "widely assumed" to be the sensible way to foster breeding favorable traits and discourage less favorable traits. Noting that the movement seemed to disappear after the crimes of the Third Reich, she asks if eugenics has returned in the "guise of medical genetics."

Paul, Diane B. Is Human Genetics Disguised Eugenics? In Genes and Human Self-Knowledge: Historical and Philosophical Reflections on Modern Genetics. Robert F. Weir, Susan C. Lawrence, and Evan Fales, eds. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1994., pp. 67-83.
Saying that almost everyone agrees that eugenics is "objectionable" Paul says that it is hard to pin down what is actually meant on any issue. But she thinks that problems in modern genetics are real whether or not one calls these issues eugenics, e.g., the desire for "perfect babies" .

Paul, Diane B. The Politics of Heredity: Essays on Eugenics, Biomedicine, and the Nature-Nurture Debate. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1998. 219 p.
Paul looks at "shifts in the meaning of ?eugenics' and the struggles to demarcate it from genetics," including "motivation (where eugenics is equated with social goals, whereas medical genetics is identified with individual aims) and means (where eugenics is equated with coercion, whereas medical genetics is associated with freedom of choice)."

Pauly, Philip J. Essay Review: The Eugenics Industry--Growth or Restructuring? Journal of the History of Biology 26 (1): 131-45, Spring 1993.
Pauly reviews six books on the history of eugenics, noting that the movement arose in many countries and meant different things in each. He suggests that future works must be significantly broader, "encompassing all twentieth-century attention to human biological improvement, however conceived."

Pope Pius XII. Morality and Eugenics: An Address of Pope Pius XII to the Seventh International Hematological Congress in Rome. The Pope Speaks 6 (4): 392-400, 1960.
Speaking against sterilization, artificial insemination, and contraception, the pope went on to suggest advice to those afflicted with "Mediterranean hematological sickness." He suggested that physicians could advise patients not to marry (especially kin), or to adopt children rather than reproducing.

Postgate, John. Eugenics Returns. Biologist 42(2): 96, 1995.
Postgate writes that thinking about the value of eugenics went "askew" because the basic science needed to approach problems lacked the ability to do so. He discusses germ-line gene therapy and his hopes that it will be fully debated to use the knowledge wisely.

Proctor, Robert N. Genomics and Eugenics: How Fair is the Comparison? In Gene Mapping: Using Law and Ethics as Guides. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992, pp 57-93.
Proctor concludes that the potential for abuse of any technology is largely dependent on the social context within which the technology is used. "The danger is that in a society where power is unequally distributed between the haves and the have-nots, the application of the new genetic technologies - as of any other - is as likely to reinforce as to ameliorate patterns of indignity and injustice" (p. 84).

Rifkin, Jeremy. A Eugenic Civilization. In his: The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1998. pp. 116-147.
Rifkin says that current genetic technologies establish the "foundation for a commercial eugenics civilization." "Genetic engineering technologies are, by their very nature, eugenics tools." He provides a history of the eugenics movement in the United States, indicating that the "new eugenics is coming to us not as a sinister plot, but rather as a social and economic boon."

Sachedina, Abdulazis. Eugenics and Religious Law: Islam. In Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Revised Edition. Warren T. Reich, ed. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1995, pp. 783-784.
Pointing out that the "idea of eugenics is not well developed in the Islamic world", Sachedina says questions of laws of incest and consanguinity are looked at from the "perspective of moral and social relationships."

Schwartz, Robert. Genetic Knowledge: Some Legal and Ethical Questions. In Birth to Death: Science and Bioethics. David C. Thomasma and Thomasine Kushner, eds. Cambridge, England: University Press, 1996, pp. 21-34.
Schwartz warns against the problems occurring when new genetic knowledge is gained, including the dangers of social eugenic policies, particularly since there is "no standard against which one can judge what is health and what is disease." He says statistics will become the criteria and that agreements and expectations will "require intense efforts on everyone's part." He asks how lack of implantation or abortion differ from social eugenics.

Shockley, William. Shockley on Eugenics and Race: The Application of Science to the Solution of Human Problems. Pearson, Roger, ed. Washington: Scott-Townsend Publishers, 1992. 292 p.
Pearson has collected William Shockley's writings about his theories of hereditary human intelligence and his belief that the less intelligent were overproducing and the more intelligent, underproducing. Shockley urged that studies be made of heredity, intellectual and demographic trends in order to ensure high intelligence levels.

Smith, J. David. For Whom the Bell Curves: Old Texts, Mental Retardation, and the Persistent Argument. Mental Retardation 33(3): 199-202, June 1995.
Smith surveyed textbooks from the first half of this century and notes that most of them accepted eugenicist arguments as if they were scientific facts. He says statements made in The Bell Curve as "beyond significant technical dispute" are in fact still questions of the greatest complexity in human diversity.

Smith, John Maynard. Eugenics and Utopia. Daedalus 117 (3): 73-92, Summer 1988.
Smith states that in earlier times the only way to eliminate an undesirable gene from a population was to reduce breeding chances, but that it is now possible to think of genetic change which can be "direct alteration or transformation of particular genes." He calls this "transformational eugenics."

Steen, R. Grant. DNA & Destiny: Nature & Nurture in Human Behavior. New York: Plenum Press, 1996. 296 p.
Steen reviews genetic behaviorism, supplying a history of the eugenic movement, and discusses the "continual tension between the possible and the actual--the possible determined by the genes, the actual by the environment."

Testart, Jacques. The New Eugenics and Medicalized Reproduction. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 4(3): 304-312, Summer 1995.
Molecular genetics and medically assisted procreation are the new eugenics according to Testart who says that the best test tube embryos will be selected making it "benevolent and learned, painless and efficient."

Tucker, William H. The Science and Politics of Racial Research. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.
Focusing on the issue of race and eugenics, Tucker concludes that there is no scientific purpose or value to the study of innate differences between races. He suggests that such studies have been undertaken to rationalize social and political inequalities as the unavoidable consequences of natural differences.

Wachbroit, Robert. What Is Wrong with Eugenics? In Ethical Issues in Scientific Research: An Anthology. Edward Erwin, Sidney Gendin, and Lowell Kleiman, eds. New York, Garland Publishing, 1994, pp. 329-336.
Wachbroit describes traditional eugenics as an effort to select parents and modern eugenics as an effort to select children, or to design them. He questions how one could know what is in the child's best interest or how one can choose for a future generation's good. He concludes that if "genetic diseases are once again held to constitute a public health problem, modern eugenics could very well share the moral collapse of the old eugenics."

Zimmermann, Susan. Industrial Capitalism's Hostility to Childbirth, Responsible Childbearing, and Eugenic Reproductive Policies in the First Third of the 20th Century. Issues in Reproductive and Genetic Engineering 3 (3): 191-200, 1990.
Zimmermann holds that the eugenic policies of birth regulation proposed by certain eugenicists in the early part of the century were based on reforming motherhood and individuals to become achievement oriented.


Barkan, Elazar. Reevaluating Progressive Eugenics: Herbert Spencer Jennings and the 1924 Immigration Legislation. Journal of the History of Biology 24 (1): 91-112, Spring 1991.
Barkan traces the changes in Jennings' attitudes toward eugenics and argues that too great an emphasis has been placed on his egalitarian views during the early 1920s.

Barkan, Elazar. The Retreat of Scientific Racism: Changing Concepts of Race in Britain and the United States Between the World Wars. Cambridge, England: University Press, 1992. 381 p.
Barkan explores the anthropology, biology, and politics of race, thoroughly looking at the development of the eugenics movement in Great Britain and the United States. Saying that eugenics was a "synthesis between social and scientific views, he describes the various men whose ideas promulgated eugenics.

Dowbiggin, Ian Robert. Keeping America Sane: Psychiatry and Eugenics in the United States and Canada 1880-1940. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997. 245 p.
Psychiatrist Dowbiggin explores "why and to what extent did psychiatrists actually endorse eugenics? How responsible were they for eugenic laws?" He analyzes the careers and works of prominent psychiatrists practicing and teaching in the early years of psychiatry, and concludes that they meant well in embracing popular eugenic ideas in an age of "progressivism." He notes that virtually all psychiatrists of this era expressed "an opinion favorable toward eugenics."

Eugenics Makes a Comeback in the U.S. Bulletin of Medical Ethics 100: 6, August 1994.
Recent developments in welfare and population control in New Jersey, Arizona, Nebraska, Connecticut and Florida are described briefly. In Colorado, prison sterilizations have been proposed as conditions for parole, and in South Dakota, Medicaid will pay for the insertion, but not the removal of Norplant contraceptive for welfare women.

Gallagher, Nancy L. Breeding Better Vermonters: The Eugenics Project in the Green Mountain State. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1999. 237 p.
The author, in the course of her graduate research, discovered the records of the Vermont Eugenics Survey which collected responses of Vermont government and medical authorities to questions about eugenical sterilization. In addition to identifying alcoholics, epileptics and illiterates as candidates for surgery, the records also showed that the local tribe of Abenaki Indians were targeted for sterilization.

Gardella, John E. Eugenic Sterilization in America and North Carolina. North Carolina Medical Journal 56(2): 106-110, February 1995.
Tracing North Carolina's eugenic sterilization laws, Gardella describes the Eugenics Board of North Carolina (established in 1933) whose jurisdiction was limited to the mentally ill and the feeble-minded. Noting opposition by the Catholic Church and others, he says that sterilizations virtually ceased after World War II. He goes on to warn against resurgence of behavioral genetic eugenics and approaching social problems from a "simplistic biological perspective."

Gillies, J.D.; and LeSouef, P.N. Towards a Better Human: The Mark 2 Human Genome: A Word of Advice from Us Down Here. [Humor.] BMJ: British Medical Journal 311(7021): 1669-1676, 23-30 December 1997.
Illustrated by children's drawings of possible future "improved" humans, various scientists imagine how humankind could be redesigned. Evolutionary biologies Stephen Jay Gould concludes that he would "never entrust the faulty product of evolution with the task of revising its own evolved structure."

Gould, Stephen Jay. Carrie Buck's Daughter. In The Flamingo's Smile: Reflection in Natural History. New York: W.W. Norton, 1985, pp. 306-318.
Gould alleges that neither Carrie Buck, (the subject of the Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell) or her daughter were mentally deficient. Gould charges that Buck was sterilized because of her social and sexual deviance as much as her lack of mental acumen.

Gould, Stephen Jay. The Smoking Gun of Eugenics. Natural History 100 (12): 8, 10, 12, 14-17, December 1991.
Gould comments on the eugenic chapters in Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher's 1930 The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, a work which he says is the abstract and theoretical foundation of evolutionary science. He challenges Fisher's argument that advanced civilizations destroy themselves when the ruling or "better" people have fewer children due to "relative genetic infertility" not by choice. Gould concludes that "the genetic fallacy is generic--and applicable almost anywhere for the common and lamentable social aim of preserving an unfair status quo."

Haller, Mark H. Eugenics: Hereditarian Attitudes in American Thought. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1963, 1984. 264 p.
Haller writes that some U.S. academics and policy makers became convinced that the genetic characteristics of criminals, the mentally retarded, the mentally disturbed, and the impoverished were the basis for their failings. Haller also concentrates on those scientists and social scientists who applied Darwinian analysis to various racial groups and decided some races were more advanced than others on the evolutionary scale. These scientists, the author says, thought that the presence of some racial groups in the United States threatened the long-run biological "quality" of the population.

Hatchett, Richard. Brave New Worlds: Perspectives on the American Experience of Eugenics. Pharos 54 (4): 13-18, Fall 1991.
A concise background of eugenics history is provided by Hatchett who opines that the past experience of eugenics makes it wise to address future uses of knowledge and science's relationship with and responsibility to society. He thinks that the recent eugenic revival has shifted focus from the state to economic utility and a "pale concept of human dignity."

Karp, Laurence E. Past Perfect: John Humphrey Noyes, Stirpiculture, and the Oneida Community. American Journal of Medical Genetics 12 (2): 127-30, June 1982.
Having written in exasperation about the "involuntary and random propagation" of the human race, Noyes set out to better the human race through the application of stirpiculture (Latin for race-culture). In the 1840s he created the Oneida Community, in which "complex marriages" were the norm, matings were sanctioned by a committee, and offspring were considered children of all the members of the community. Internal pressures and external law enforcement efforts eventually brought the collapse of the Community in 1881.

Larson, Edward J. Confronting Scientific Authority With Religious Values: Eugenics in American History. In Genetic Engineering: A Christian Response Crucial Considerations for Shaping Life. Timothy J. Demy & Gary P. Steward, eds. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Pulibations, 1999. pp.104-124.
Larson discusses the role that religion in Louisiana and Alabama played in preventing "sterilization of the feebleminded, the mentally ill, and the deviant." He says that while "genetic research offers great medical potential, our religious heritage must be represented in the political arena as a moral ?check and balance.'"

Larson, Edward J. "In the Finest, Most Womanly Way:" Women in the Southern Eugenics Movement. American Journal of Legal History 39(2): 119-147, April 1995.
Larson examines the role of women in state campaigns for eugenic legislation in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina during the first third of this century. He says that "women's clubs vied with medical associations in providing the most ready audiences for eugenicists."

Larson, Edward J. Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995. 251 p.
Larson looks at the South between 1895 and 1945 when "eugenics doctrines commanded the greatest national influence." He says that the movement was a series of distinct campaigns for state legislation that was race and gender based. He thinks many controversial moral and legal issues rising from the new genetics and medicine remain today.

Ludmerer, Kenneth M. Genetics and American Society: A Historical Appraisal. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972. 222 p.
Ludmerer looks at the social climate from 1905 to 1930 which created a situation in which eugenics played a role in public policy making. He examines genetic theories of the day, and how they were adopted by eugenicists, and finally, Ludmerer demonstrates how the political and social events of the time affected the activities of American geneticists.

Penslar, Robin Levin. Ethics and Eugenics. In her Research Ethics: Cases & Materials. Robin Levin Penslar, ed. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995, pp. 72-84.
The author present a background to the eugenic movement in America and discusses three cases raising ethical issues about eugenics: a naval heroism gene, feeblemindedness, and ethical considerations in data collection.

Pernick, Martin S. The Black Stork: Eugenics and the Death of "Defective" Babies in American Medicine and Motion Pictures Since 1915. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996, 295 p.
Pernick chronicles a Chicago surgeon who in the late 1910s let at least six infants that he diagnosed as "defectives" die. He publicized this to journalists, wrote about it and starred in a feature film, "The Black Stork." Pernick links eugenics with mercy killing and with race, class, gender and ethnic hatred, tracing the history of such issues, and bringing them from antiquity to the human genome project debates.

Rafter, Nicole Hahn. White Trash: The Eugenic Family Studies, 1877-1919. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1988. 382 p.
Rafter reviews the eugenic family studies conducted in the United States that were grounds for concluding that some families had inferior genes, which perpetuated certain socially undesirable traits as alcoholism, crime, feeble-mindedness, "pauperism", sexual promiscuity, and even loquacity.

Reilly, Philip R. The Surgical Solution: A History of Involuntary Sterilization in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. 190 p.
Reilly details the rise and fall of involuntary sterilization in the U.S. as a means to prevent "mental defectives" from reproducing. From 1907 until the 1960s more than 60,000 men and women were subjected to court-ordered, involuntary sterilization, often without their knowledge.

Rushton, Alan R. Genetics and Medicine in the United States 1800-1922. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994. 209 p.
In Rushton's discussion of genetics and medicine, he includes the early history of the eugenics movement, and notes that "many physicians permitted their ethical objections to eugenics theories, increasingly embraced by genetics researchers, to color their judgment of the research itself." He concludes that the new genetics will help physicians and their patients to govern their lives more effectively. "This is true eugenics."

Smith, J. David. The Eugenic Assault on America: Scenes in Red, White and Black. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University Press, 1993. 114 p.
Saying that since 1907, 29 states passed laws mandating sterilization, racial registration and restricting miscegenation (some still in force in the 1980s), Smith chronicles these events and legislation, holding that "the issue of eugenics as potential genocide is even today not dead."

Smith, J. David. Minds Made Feeble: The Myth and Legacy of the Kallikaks. Rockville, MD: Aspen Systems Corp., 1985. 205 p.
In 1912 Henry Goddard published a book detailing the story of a New Jersey family he called Kallikak. There were two branches of the family: one branch of "inferior" citizens resulted from a dalliance between the Mr. Kallikak and a nameless, feeble-minded girl he met in a tavern; the other branch came from Mr. Kallikak's later marriage to a respectable woman from a good family. Their offspring became pillars of the community. Professor Smith recounts the details of the study and provides a modern perspective on the theory that mental retardation is a result of tainted blood.

Smith, J. David, and Nelson, K. Ray. The Sterilization of Carrie Buck. Far Hills, N.J.: New Horizon Press, 1989. 268 p.
Smith and Nelson relate the 1920s story of Carrie Buck, who was the subject of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Buck v. Bell. Decribed as "poor white trash", teenaged, pregnant and labelled retarded, Buck was involuntarily sterilized after being committed to the Virginia Colony for Epileptics and the Feebleminded.

U.S. Supreme Court. Buck v. Bell. Supreme Court Reporter 47: 584-585, 1927.
Carrie Buck was an eighteen year old and resident of a Virginia state home for "mental defectives" at the time her case was heard by the Supreme Court. The daughter of a "feeble-minded" mother, she was the mother of an illigitimate "feeble-minded" child herself (who was conceived when she was raped). The Supreme Court concluded that "It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let the starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.... Three generations of imbeciles are enough..." (p. 585).


Aly, Götz; Chroust, Peter; and Pross, Christian. Cleansing the Fatherland: Nazi Medicine and Racial Hygiene. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1994. 295 p.
Details are provided of German physicians profiting professionally and financially through the Nazi racial hygiene program. Aly, Chroust and Pross reveal stories of the T-4 euthanasia program, and the killing of maladjusted adolescents, handicapped persons, foreign laborers too sick to work, and even German civilians who suffered mental breakdowns during air raids.

Barondess, Jeremiah A. Medicine Against Society: Lessons From the Third Reich. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association 276(20): 1657-1661, 27 November 1997.
Barondess examines the history of German medicine under National Socialism, finding that a "major lesson from the Nazi era is the fundamental ethical basis of medicine and the importance of an informed, concerned, and engaged profession." He describes the rise of eugenic policies in Germany and how physicians subscribed to the dogmas of Nazi racial hygiene.

Dietrich, Donald J. Catholic Eugenics in Germany, 1920-1945: Hermann Muckermann, S.J. and Joseph Mayer. Journal of Church and State 34 (3): 575-600, Summer 1992.
Saying that professional eugenicists developed a sense that medicine was a social function responsible for actively intervening and maintaining a "good" genetic pool, Dietrich notes that although this could have been the antithesis of Catholic thought, two German intellectual Catholic scientists provided theories that would allow Catholics to adapt the problematic, negative eugenic policies of the Nazis.

Franzblau, Michael J. Ethical Values in Health Care in 1995: Lessons from the Nazi Period. Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia 84(4): 161-164, April 1995.
According to Franzblau, "racial hygiene" represented mainstream German thinking by the time the Nazi came to power. Physicians acted as expert witnesses and sat on sterilization courts to ensure implementation of all the eugenics laws. "Physicians were involved not only in the selection of those to be killed but in actually implementing the techniques for murders in so-called `healing centers' throughout Germany." He says physicians must not be agents of the state and sees great danger when they give up commitment to the individual patient.

Friedlander, Henry. The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1995. 421 p.
Friedlander traces the rise of racist and eugenic policies in Nazi Germany, citing the growth of research centers focused on eugenics in the Weimar years which served as models for similar later Nazi centers.

Hanauske-Abel, Hartmut M. Not a Slippery Slope or Sudden Subversion: German Medicine and National Socialism in 1933. BMJ: British Medical Journal 313(7070): 1453-1463. 7 December 1996.
The author presents evidence that suggests that the German medical community even outpaced the new government in 1933 in enforced eugenic sterilizations. He thinks that the relationship between medicine and the government converged in 1933 Germany and that it is occurring again with converging medical, government and economic policies.

Kater, Michael H. Doctors Under Hitler. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 426 p.
Claiming that German physicians became Nazified more thoroughly and sooner than other professions, the author discusses eugenics as racial cleansing. Kater says that medical schools and their faculties became advocates of racial hygiene early in the 20th century, urging medical selection to improve and augment a superior race while impeding those thought to be inferior.

Kühl, Stefan. The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. 166 p.
Drawing comparisons between the American eugenics movement and the Nazi program implemented in 1933 to "improve" the population through forced sterilization and marriage controls, Kühl presents a history of eugenics in the United States which he says led the way in international eugenic theories. He argues that American eugenicists' visits to Germany prior to World War II, influenced, aided, and stabilized the Nazi regime, with racism as the core ideology of both American and German eugenicists.

Lifton, Robert Jay. The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. New York: Basic Books, 1986. 561 p.
Psychiatrist Lifton interviews German physicians who lived during the Nazi era, and comments that "eugenicizing" became the way to develop a Nazi physician. Saying that early German eugenics had a "tone of romantic excess" Lifton quotes Ploetz' "race was the criterion of value" and German physician-geneticist Fritz Lenz who said "our race is doomed to extinction" without a radical eugenics project.

Michalczyk, John J., ed. Medicine, Ethics, and the Third Reich: Historical and Contemporary Issues. Kansas City, MO: Sheed & Ward, 1994. 258 p.
This published proceedings of a conference at Boston College, presents the history leading to the Holocaust in Germany with discussions of "racial hygiene" and Nazi eugenics. Twenty-one essayists are included along with illustrations of old posters urging Germans to produce only healthy offspring.

Müller-Hill, Benno. Eugenics: The Science and Religion of the Nazis. In When Medicine Went Mad: Bioethics and the Holocaust. Pp. 43-52. Arthur L. Caplan, ed. Totowa, NJ: Human Press, 1992.
Müller-Hill defines science as describing the world as it is, not what it should look like, and goes on to relate the background for genetics and eugenics from 1900-1933, pointing out that until the Nazis came into power in Germany, eugenicists had little success in Europe. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, the author holds that medicine and science should never deliver ethical values which must come from other sources.

Müller-Hill, Benno. Murderous Science: Elimination by Scientific Selection of Jews, Gypsies, and Others, Germany 1933-1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. 208 p.
With the end of World War I, German "scientific propagandists" (psychiatrists and anthropologists) were devastated by the democratic Weimar Republic and saw Hitler as someone who would recognize their ideas and give them prominence. Müller-Hill provides a detailed account of the alliance between Hitler and scientists by reporting on a number of interviews he conducted with the participants.

Proctor, Robert N. Nazi Doctors, Racial Medicine, and Human Experimentation. In The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation. George J. Annas and Michael J. Grodin, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992, pp 17-31.
The experimentation carried out by physicians in the Nazi concentration camps should be understood in the context of German militarism and the racial hygiene movement according to Proctor, who says that their science was not apolitical and passive but an integral part of the Nazi program. Racial hygiene was considered as a complement to personal and social hygiene.

Proctor, Robert N. Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988. 414 p.
Pointing out that science-based technologies can serve "to maintain social order and facilitate the policing of society" (p.1), Proctor says ideologies can obscure the recognition of such control. He explores the place of science under the Nazi regime and focuses on how the scientists, and particularly physicians participated in the Nazi racial policy, calling it "applied biology" (p. 7).

Weindling, Paul. The Survival of Eugenics in 20th-Century Germany. American Journal of Human Genetics 52 (3): 643-49, March 1993.
The continued participation of German eugenicists in academics and public policy after World War II is described. Weindling emphasizes the relationship of eugenics to human genetics and provides a glimpse at the activities of many German eugenicists after the war.

Weindling, Paul. Health, Race, and German Politics Between National Unification and Nazism, 1870-1945. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989. 641 p.
Weindling focuses on the origin, social composition and impact of eugenics on the rapidly industrialising German Empire before World War Two. Biology and medicine took on important roles in the struggle to curb a decline in poulation, and to cure many social ills -- all the while making new powerful careers for physicians and scientists.

Weingart, Peter. German Eugenics Between Science and Politics. OSIRIS, 2nd Series 5: 260-82, 1989.
Eugenics combines evolutionary theory and a theory of human heredity to focus political concerns about population policy and control, according to Weingart who holds that both scientists and politicians used eugenics to advance their causes. But only in Germany, he says, did eugenic scientists or race hygienists "form[ed] a coalition with politicians of the conservative and radical right."

Weiss, Sheila Faith. Race Hygiene and National Efficiency: The Eugenics of Wilhelm Schallmayer. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. 245 p.
Weiss says that eugenics in Germany was viewed as a "form of rational management or managerial control over the reproductive capacities of various groups and classes." Physician Wilhelm Schallmayer became concerned with "mental defectives" and other nonproductive types and offered biomedical solutions for social and political problems, advocating that the "unfit" be discouraged from marrying and reproducing.


Brobert, Gunnar, and Roll-Hansen, Nils, eds.Eugenics and the Welfare State: Sterilization Policy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1996. 294 p.
The authors present "case studies of what happened when Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden set in place sterilization and eugenics programs as part of large-scale social welfare experiments based on assumptions that they would contribute to economic prosperity and social progress." They point out that such programs continued after World War II.

Cairney, Richard. "Democracy Was Never Intended for Degenerates": Alberta's Flirtation with Eugenics Comes Back to Haunt It. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal 155(6): 789-792, 15 September 1996.
Cairney reports a lawsuit against the government of Alberta for wrongful sterilization won by a woman who had been sterilized at age 14 under the Sexual Sterilization Act of 1927 which promoted the theory of eugenics and led to the sterilization of more than 2800 persons. A physician who served on the original sterilization board is quoted as saying that eugenics is in some ways practiced now through prenatal diagnosis and therapeutic abortion.

Canada. Law Reform Commission. Sterilization: Implications for Mentally Retarded and Mentally Ill. Ottawa: The Commission, 1979. 157 p.
The Commission examines reasons for sterilizing the disabled, its legality and consent issues raised by sterilization in this working paper. It makes policy recommendations for Canada, and includes the text of fourteen policy statements or legislation on sterilization of the disabled.

Dikotter, Frank. Race as Seed (1915-1949). Chapter 6 in his The Discourse of Race in Modern China. London: Hurst & Company, 1992, pp. 164-190.
Calling eugenics a pseudo-science, Dikotter traces the Chinese background of taijiao, a mid-19th century theory of prenatal education that would look at everything that affected the fetus. He goes on to describe their adoption of eugenics theories which peaked in the 1920s and 1930s, but continued well beyond those years into the 1960s.

Gewirtz, Daniel S. Toward a Quality Population: China's Eugenic Sterilization of the Mentally Retarded. New York Law School Journal of International Comparative Law 15(1): 139-162, 1994.
Gewirtz says that while the "quasi-scientific" eugenics movement has fallen into disrepute in the West, it has become popular in China because "population quality" is appealing because it works toward the government's desire to control "population quantity." He presents a thorough discussion of China's policies concerning mental retardation.

Jones, Greta. Social Hygiene in Twentieth Century Britain. London: Croom Helm, 1986. 180 p.
The history of British social hygiene organizations such as the Eugenics Society, the National Council for Mental Hygiene, the Central Association for Mental Welfare, the People's League of Health, and the National Institute for Industrial Psychology is provided. These groups were influenced by Social Darwinism, and were based on the assumptions that we need to eliminate the "unfit", and that eugenics would improve the general level of industrial and personal efficiency in the working class.

Macnicol, John. Eugenics and the Campaign for Voluntary Sterilization in Britain Between the Wars. Social History of Medicine 2 (2): 147-69, August 1989.
The history of the British eugenic movement is traced between World Wars I and II. While much emphasis has been placed by others on the link between "progressive" thought and eugenics, Macnicols stresses the Labour Party's efforts to quell eugenic legislation. The Eugenics Society campaign to pass legislation on voluntary sterilization of the mental "defectives" was the most significant effort, though the Society's crusade fell short.

Mazumdar, Pauline M.H. Eugenics, Human Genetics, and Human Failings: The Eugenics Society, Its Sources and Its Critics in Britain. London: Routledge, 1992. 373 p.
Mazumdar focuses on the Eugenics Education Society in Britain. Founded over fears the "residuum", or "pauper class" was reproducing so quickly that it would be able to stem the tide of natural evolution of the human race, the Society attempted to integrate new scientific and mathematical theories into discussions of public policy and legislation.

McGregor, Alan. Eugenic Thought in France. Mankind Quarterly 30 (4): 337-50, Summer 1990.
The author quotes eugenic statements by French authors from 1687 to 1969. He recommends L'Idee Eugenique en France: Essaie Bibliographie by Henry de la Haye Jousselin (Limoges: A. Bontemps, 1989).

McLaren, Angus. Our Own Master Race: Eugenics in Canada, 1885-1945. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1990. 228 p.
While sterilization of the "feeble-minded" in British Columbia and Alberta was the most significant effort to stem reproduction of "degenerate" persons, immigration restriction, birth control, mental testing, and family allowances were all suggested as ways to improve Canadian society in the first half of the twentieth century.

O'Brien, Claire. China Urged to Delay `Eugenics' Law. Nature 383(6597): 204, 19 September 1996.
Saying that genetic legislation has a tragic history, scientist's from around the world petitioned the Chinese government to delay the eugenics law which took effect in 1995. Articles cited were the requirement that physicians give advice to couples diagnosed as having genetic diseases considered "inappropriate" for child-bearing and that the couple should agree to sterilization or long-term contraception if they marry.

Pearson, Veronica. Population Policy and Eugenics in China. British Journal of Psychiatry 167(1): 1-4, 1995.
Comparing China"s birth policy as reminiscent of the programs of sterilizations carried out in Germany in the 1930s, Pearson describes the National Marriage Law of 1950 which prohibited marriage in China if one of the parties suffered from mental illness, leprosy or venereal disease; going on to show how subsequent laws stressed eugenics and healthier births. She indicates the goal is fewer but healthier babies; that they view eugenics as a "matter of quality control, devoid of moral implications...."

Redmond, Geoffrey P. Eugenics and Religious Law: Hinduism and Buddhism. In Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Revised Edition. Warren T. Reich, ed. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1995, pp. 784-788.
Redmond says that it is unlikely that there would be any eugenic statements from either religion, but that both Hinduism and Buddhism "have ethical ideas or methods that can be applied to modern problems." He discusses rules that govern Hindu reproduction, and suggests that Hinduism requires a form of eugenics, but that Buddhism is essentially neutral to eugenics.

Roll-Hansen, Nils. Eugenics Before World War II: The Case of Norway. Pubblicazioni della Stazzioni Zoologica di Napoli 2 (2): 269-98, 1980.
Norwegian eugenic activities are described, highlighting John Alfred Mjoen and his ®Norwegian Program for Racehygiene¯ and his struggle against Otto Lous Mohr. It is claimed that Norway was the site of some of the earliest public outcry against the scientific community's "dilettantic and irresponsible" ideas.

Schneider, William H. Quality and Quantity: The Quest for Biological Regeneration in Twentieth-Century France. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. 392 p.
In a response to the perception that French society was in a state of decline and degeneration, eugenics appealed to some early twentieth century scientists and policy makers. Birth control, premarital examinations, sterilization and immigration control were adopted in varying degrees as ways to affect the quality of the population, which had to be counterbalanced against fears of a shrinking population.

Soloway, Richard A. Demography and Degeneration: Eugenics and the Declining Birthrate in Twentieth-Century Britain. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990. 443 p.
Soloway examines the declining birthrate and family size among the well-educated and successful in Britain at the turn of the century, and the swelling ranks of the less-educated portion of the population. This demographic profile opened the door for the adoption of eugenic thought and Social Darwinism.

Stepan, Nancy Leys. "The Hour of Eugenics": Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991. 210 p.
Stepan examines eugenics in Latin America as a science of heredity that was shaped by political, institutional and cultural factors, and also as a social movement with an explicit set of policy proposals that seemed to eugenicists to be logically formed from hereditarian science. She highlights the history of eugenics in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, and studies general trends in Latin America.

Suzuki, Zenji. Geneticists and the Eugenics Movement in Japan. Japanese Studies in the History of Science 14: 157-64, 1975.
Suzuki outlines the development of eugenic thought in Japan, beginning with the desire for self-preservation of the ex-military class, who declared themselves genetically superior. Other eugenicists interested in westernizing Japanese culture advocated a program of yellow and white intermarriage.

Tomlinson, Richard. China Aims to Improve Health of Newborns by Law. British Medical Journal 309 (6965): 1319, 19 November 1994.
Brief details are provided on new Chinese legislation regarding marriage and the prevention of unhealthy births. With an emphasis on healthy babies and mothers, the chinese government requires premarital genetic evaluations, testing for contagious diseases, and is some cases requires persons carrying "serious" genetic defects to agree to sterilization or long-term contraception before obtaining permission to marry.


Antonak, Richard F.; Fielder, C.R.; and Mulick, J.A. A Scale of Attitudes Toward the Application of Eugenics to the Treatment of People with Mental Retardation. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 37 (1): 75-83, 1993.

Barkan, Alazar. The Retreat of Scientific Racism: Changing Concepts of Race in Britain and the United States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. 381 p.

Bourguignon, Henry J. Mental Retardation: the Reality Behind the Label. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 3 (2): 179-94, Spring 1994.

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Bush, Lester E., Jr. Eugenics, Genetics, and Sterilization. In Health and Medicine Among the Latter-Day Saints. New York: Crossroad, 1993, pp 167-169.

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Degener, Theresia. Female Self-Determination between Feminist Claims and `Voluntary' Eugenics, Between `Rights' and Ethics. Issues in Reproductive and Genetic Engineering 3 (2): 87-99, 1990.

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Jarrell, Robin H. Native American Women and Forced Sterilization. Caduceus 8 (3): 45-58, Winter 1992.

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Larson, Edward J. Belated Progress: The Enactment of Eugenic Legislation in Georgia. Journal of History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 46(1): 44-64, January 1991.

Lerner, Richard M. Final Solutions: Biology, Prejudice, and Genocide. University Park: Pennsylvania State University, 1992. 238 p.

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Osborn, Frederick. Preface to Eugenics. New York: Harper & Row, 1940. 312 p.

Pickens, Donald K. Eugenics and the Progressives. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1969. 260 p.

Ramsey, Paul. Fabricated Man. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970. 174 p.

Robitscher, Jonas. Eugenic Sterilization. Springfield, IL: Thomas, 1973. 146 p.

Roper, A. G. Ancient Eugenics. Mankind Quarterly 32 (4): 383-419, Summer 1992.

Tyler, Patrick E. China Weighs Using Sterilization and Abortions to Stop 'Abnormal' Births. New York Times A9, 22 December 1993.

Pat Milmoe McCarrick, M.L.S. is a Reference Librarian at the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature (NRC), Georgetown University. She and Mary Carrington Coutts, a former reference librarian at the NRC, first prepared the Eugenics Scope Note for publication in June 1995. This Scope Note is updated on a regular basis; the most recent update is February 2002.

The National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University is supported in part by contract NO1-LM-4-3532 with the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and grant P41 HG01115 from the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health.

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