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April 12, 1902


JAMA. 1902;XXXVIII(15):943. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.02480150037004

The number of articles proposing the prevention of propagation of defectives indicates a widespread interest in problems of improving the human stock. It is apparent that permanent segregation of every individual who may easily be recognized as physically or mentally unfit to be a parent is too great a task for state resources, while permanent seclusion of moral defectives is quite out of the question. The consequence of these conditions is that individuals whose offspring will surely either actively or passively prey on society are allowed to keep on propagating even though they are returned time and again to institutions and secluded. Since temporary segregation is a failure in keeping down the birth-rate of perhaps our worst class of citizens, it is proposed to surgically asexualize by vasectomy or by ligation of the Fallopian tubes those whose progeny are certain to be a menace to society. Already some legislative bodies