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What is eugenics?

- Eugenics is a social movement with the aim of improving the genetic makeup of the human race typically by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior and promoting those judged to be superior
- They would usually do this through selective breeding and sterilization


How did eugenics start?

In the 1880s Sir Francis Galton studied the upper class of Britain and came up with the conclusion that their social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup


What was eugenics thought to be in the progressive era?

- During the Progressive Era in the US of the late XIX and early XX century, Eugenics was considered a method of preserving and improving the dominant groups in the population: through selective breeding, the human species should direct its own evolution
- This kind of selective breeding meant continuing to keep separate classes, we would have a functional slavery, upper classes using lower to increase their power and money.


What was the role of eugenics in the USA?

- Played a significant role in the history and culture of US
- It was practised in the United states many years before similar programs in Nazi Germany which provided inspiration for them
- They tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples; supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws, and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and “immoral” (homosexuals, peeing in the streets).
- It was also supported by African american intellectuals such as WEB du bois and Thomas Turner but they believed that the best blacks were as good as the best whites and these are the only ones that should procreate


What were bodies and associations that were created for eugenics in America?

- Immigration restriction league founded in 1894 was the first american entity officially associated with Eugenics which didn't want inferior races from enterica america and diluting the superior american racial stock (white-anglo saxon protestants)
- American Breeder's association was the first eugenic body in the US established in 1906 which wanted to investigate and report heredity in the human race emphasizing the value of superior blood and the menace of inferior blood to society


Why did eugenics succeed in the US?

Public acceptance in the U.S. was the reason eugenic legislation was passed.


Which laws were passed in the US regarding eugenics?

- Beginning in 1896 states started enacting marriage laws with eugenic criteria prohibiting people with a variety of conditions (mental disorders, epileptic people, low intelligence) from marrying
- Sterilization laws were then brought shortly after which were first rejected for a few years until 1907 were the first sterilization laws appeared in a few states (first country to do so)
- From then to 1960s about 60000 sterilizations were done
- In 1927 patients at Virginia home for the mentally retarded were forced to be sterilized


What about worldwide eugenics?

The reasons governments implement sterilization programs vary in purpose and intent; managing population growth, sex discrimination, “sex normalizing” surgeries of intersex persons, genocide acts against ethnic minorities, HIV positive people, and the mentally disabled have also been reasons that compulsive sterilization has been used.


What are examples of golbal eugenics programs?

- China: In 1978 the one child policy which ended in 2016
- Israel: In 2013, Israel admitted for the first time Ethiopian Jewish Immigrants were given birth control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.
- South Africa: HIV positive were sterilized without their informed consent and sometimes without their knowledge.
- Countries with active sterilization programs include Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Switzerland, Iceland, Uzbekistan, and some countries in Latin America (including Panama).


Is forced sterilization allowed?

No, it is a a violation of human rights conventions


What was the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment?

It was a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service, in collaboration with the Tuskegee Institute, to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men in Macon county, Alabama


What was told to people who volunteered in the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment?

- They were told that they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government for “bad blood”
- None of the infected ones were ever told they had the disease, nor were they treated with penicillin despite the fact that by 1947, the antibiotic had become the standard treatment for syphilis


How many people were enrolled in the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and where they given?

- It enrolled 600 men (399 who had previously contracted syphilis, 201 without the disease) who were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance for participating in the study.


Why was the Tuskegee experiment ethically incorrect?

Ethically incorrect because:
-No informed consent
-No communication of diagnosis
-No accurate reporting of test results
- Researchers knowingly failed to treat patients appropriately giving them placebo and not treating them even when penicillin was made available


How did the Tuskegee syphilis experiment end?

This project was terminated on November 16, 1972 due to study failure revealed by a whistle-blower


Who were the victims of the Tuskejee syphillis trial?

- Numerous participants died
- Some of the wives of the participant got infected and some even had children born with congenital syphilis


What happened in Nazi germany when it came to eugenics?

- Law from the prevention of hereditary diseased offspring was enacted in 1933
- It allowed the compulsory sterilisation of any citizen who in the opinion of a "genetic health court" suffered from a list of alleged genetic disorders
- Racially based social policies that placed the biological improvement of the Aryan race through Eugenics were at the centre of Nazi ideology.


How many people were sterilized in Nazi Germany?

- 400000 people were sterilized
- 300000 people were killed under Action T4 which was a euthanasia program in gas chambers at various institutes


Who were the targets in the sterilization and euthanasia programs in Nazi Germany?

Included (but not limited to) insane people, homosexuals, prisoners, degenerates, people with congenital diseases, cognitive and physical disabilities (including feeble minded, deaf, blind, epileptic, schizophrenic, manic depressive, cerebral palsy, the weak.