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April 17, 1926


JAMA. 1926;86(16):1229-1230. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02670420053024

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Sterilization of the Unfit  The Société d'anthropologie of Brussels has taken up the question of sterilization of abnormal subjects, from the anthropologic point of view. There is at present evidence of an augmentation in the number and of a retrogradation in the character of the sexual misdemeanors committed. Vervacck discussed all phases of the question and referred to the action that had been taken in foreign countries. In Scandinavia, laws have been passed prohibiting marriage in the presence of certain mental affections, such as constitutional epilepsy, leprosy and infectious venereal diseases. In such cases the physician is required to notify the authorities. However, serious difficulties lie in the way of prophylactic sterilization. The diagnosis of hereditary diseases and the prognosis of hereditary defects is difficult. Again, from the moral aspect, such a measure is repugnant to our feelings and sterilization would not be acceptable at all except with the consent

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