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March 7, 1908

Vasotomy or Castration for Perverts and Defectives?

JAMA. 1908;L(10):785. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02530360047014

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Davenport, Iowa, Feb. 7, 1908.

To the Editor:  —In his reply to my communication of January 18, criticising his unqualified recommendation of vasotomy for sterilization, Dr. Belfield says that I condemn "the lawful, intelligent and beneficial use of sterilization." In so asserting, he quite disregards my direct statement to the contrary. My objection is not to sterilization, but to this especial measure of bringing it about; and more particularly to the unqualified recommendation of vasotomy by so influential a member of the profession.In institutions, and carefully safeguarded, as it is by the Indiana law, this method of sterilization may be well enough for those who are to stay shut up; but for such as may, sooner or later, through legal process, be turned loose again, to infect and debauch at their pleasure, it is a half measure which seems to me extremely unwise even when restricted to wards of

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