Sunday, May 20, 2007

On the 80th Anniversary of the Buck decision and Contemporary Trends in Eugenics

"This month marked the 80th anniversary of the disgraceful Supreme Court decision in Buck v. Bell, which upheld Virginia's involuntary sterilization laws. In his majority opinion, Holmes declared: "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 . . . Three generations of imbeciles is enough."
...Though society may be inclined to regard Holmes's detestable opinion in Buck v. Bell as a relic of a time past, eerie similarities exist in contemporary remarks of the well-respected."

Via Washington Post Op Ed by Andrew J. Imparato is president and chief executive and Anne C. Sommers is the policy counsel of the American Association of People With Disabilities, based in Washington.

This op ed explores the current trend in eugenics in legislation such as the futile care law, Britain's Royal College's argument for active euthanasia a la Peter Singer, increased prenatal testing, and perception of the disabled as "burdens" and "defective".

The authors write:

"On this 80th anniversary of Buck, let's not foolishly believe that victims of eugenics are an artifact of history. So long as we speak in terms of good genes and bad genes, recognize a life with a disability as an injury, and allow health policies to value some lives over others, we continue to create human rights violations every day."

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