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March 18, 1899


JAMA. 1899;XXXII(11):619-620. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450380049012

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That newly organized communities are more liable to attempt experiments in legislation than are older and more settled ones, has long been a matter of observation. In North Dakota a bill is stated to have passed, the idea of which is to prevent the spread of certain diseases that are supposed to be hereditary, by putting a restriction upon marriage. The law provides for a commission composed of three competent physicians, to which the persons intending marriage shall apply for examination, to determine whether such person is free from disabilities named in the law, such as dipsomania, hereditary insanity, and tuberculosis, before receiving the necessary license. It will be interesting to observe the history of such measures, provided they are so far in accordance with public sentiment as to permit their enforcement. It is hardly to be expected that these disorders will be immediately stamped out, and the difficulty of

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