Opinion

Eugenics doesn’t have a place in American society

There is a surprising amount of people in 2020 who are supportive of eugenics, and I find it very alarming.

Eugenics is deeply rooted in American society, and as much as people like to ignore this fact, Nazis were inspired by American eugenic policies, such as forced sterilization of those deemed “undesirable” and banning of interracial relationships.

According to PBS, forced sterilizations were practiced in the U.S. until the 1970s and disproportionately targeted women of color, disabled women and inmates.

People who were sterilized against their will were either not given informed consent about the procedure, sterilized right after giving birth or manipulated into it through government programs.

These practices are evil. The right to reproductive choice is one of the most basic human rights, and to take that away from someone is disgusting. Because people were targeted for traits deemed undesirable, this makes it even worse. It is discriminatory and fascist in nature.

While historian Tom Head said the last legally-forced sterilization in the U.S. occurred in 1981, there are still instances of it happening illegally.

Additionally, the attitudes that contribute to eugenics are still much more common than you think.

People don’t talk about their support for eugenics in person because they know they’ll get called out and shunned. But they get very bold about it online.

Last June, so-called “feminist” and “human rights activist” Taslima Nasreem tweeted, “Men and women who have bad genes with genetic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, etc. should not produce children. They have no right to make others suffer.”

More recently, scientist and atheist poster child Richard Dawkins voiced his support for eugenics via Twitter and then tried to take back what he said after getting called out for supporting eugenics.

He wrote, “It’s one thing to deplore eugenics on ideological, political, moral grounds. It’s quite another to conclude that it wouldn’t work in practice. Of course, it would. It works for cows, horses, pigs, dogs & roses. Why on earth wouldn’t it work for humans? Facts ignore ideology.”

Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter if it works in theory or in actual practice. It’s morally wrong. You can’t dictate who can and cannot reproduce.

By implying someone should have their reproductive ability forcibly removed for them, you are infringing on their most basic human rights and their bodily autonomy, as well as sending a message that their life is inherently less valuable than others.

I don’t know how I’m capable of still experiencing shock at how awful the world is, but it blows my mind that currently, people are still embracing eugenics, a policy generally associated with literal Nazis and fascists.

I can’t believe this needs to be said, but no one should be coerced into reproductive procedures they don’t want, whether that’s sterilization, an abortion or a forced pregnancy.

People are perfectly capable of making their own decisions on what they think is appropriate for themselves.

Additionally, eugenics is deeply rooted in hatred for those with disabilities, for immigrants and for racial and ethnic minorities. The aim of eugenics is to make it so these groups no longer exist and are bred out of society.

People can claim as much as they want that they just want a healthier human race or some other nonsense. But they should consider the evil roots of these beliefs, the intrusion upon human rights, as well as how often things meant to be “good” are actually just damaging and hurting marginalized people.

By normalizing someone’s opinion that certain groups shouldn’t reproduce, we are normalizing attitudes in society that could make forced sterilizations legal again and much more widespread.

Maria Ranger

Categories: Opinion

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