By Nathaniel Comfort
Scientific American Blog
Originally published August 23, 2013
Is eugenics a historical evil poised for a comeback? Or is it a noble but oft-abused concept, finally being done correctly?
Once defined as “the science of human improvement through better breeding,” eugenics has roared back into the headlines in recent weeks in both Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll personae. The close observer may well wonder which will prevail. The snarling Mr. Hyde is the state control over reproduction. Although this idea may evoke visions of Nazi genocide, the U.S. itself has a long, unsavory eugenic history, peaking between 1910 and the mid-thirties but tailing out through the 20th century. And now into the 21st: the recent investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting, which showed that between 2006 and 2010 nearly 150 pregnant prisoners had been sterilized against their will in California, was a stunning reminder that traces of the old eugenics remain in our own time.
The entire blog post is here.