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October 23, 1926


JAMA. 1926;87(17):1404-1405. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680170058023

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The Sterilization of Mental Defectives  In Mental Welfare, Dr. A. E. Tredgold, the leading authority on mental deficiency, discusses the sterilization of mental defectives, a subject of controversy recently in the press. Dr. Tredgold begins by pointing out that for sterilization an act of parliament would be needed and is out of the question in the present state of public opinion. Those who advocate sterilization do so for three main reasons: 1. By preventing propagation, sterilization would produce a marked decrease in mental deficiency. 2. By allowing the discharge of many patients now in institutions, it would lessen their cost to the community. 3. This liberty would increase the happiness of the defectives.The first appears to be the principal motive actuating those responsible for the propaganda. A writer in the Spectator recently described this as "the only effective method of diminishing the now ever increasing load of mentally diseased

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