Full text: Problems in eugenics

H. E. Jordan. Medicine and Eugenics.397 
It would thus come within the range of this new-type physician’s 
duties, for example, to give advice to conscientious prospective parties to 
the marriage contract respecting their physical fitness for this state, the 
possible nature of resulting offspring, and the desirability or value of 
such offspring from the standpoint of the race. Again, he might be 
expected to be informed regarding the racial effect of parental labour in 
certain industrial occupations, and give advice according to the varying 
conditions. Or, again, he might be expected to do so apparently simple 
a thing as to give advice concerning what one should eat in specific 
instances for the welfare of himself and even his offspring. The future 
physician must also take a more active part in helping to shape legislation 
in the interests of race-welfare, especially as regaids legistration, isolation, 
and marriage restriction of the venerealy diseased. 
The doctor must be able to supply properly what his clientele demands. 
Hence, for a second reason, the future medical curriculum must include a 
course in sound eugenics. Pressure will come to bear from without and 
from within. Incidentally, this new demand will appreciably raise the 
general moral level of the medical profession. For the responsibility of 
this altered profession is enormous. Moreover, precept will have value 
ontly as it is re-enforced by example. It demands exceptional men to be 
able to practice in their private lives what the best elements of society will 
demand that they should publicly teach. 
But why, then, are courses in eugenics not now more generally given in 
our medical schools? What are the obstacles to the inclusion of such a 
course in the curriculum? Having determined the nature of the obstacles 
or of the opposition, we need next to consider whether they are reasonable, 
serious and insurmountable. 
In the first place instruction in eugenics, in the form of a number of 
special lectures on the subject, is already given in some of our medical 
schools. This indicates at least that the need is felt and the importance of 
such knowledge to the best physician recognized. Since not all of the 
better medical schools give such courses, however, we may infer that there 
are obstacles in the way. What is the nature of these? 
One such may be the lack of adequate preparation on the part of 
students in the fundamentals of biology to properly comprehend the import 
and application of eugenic facts. There is even now considerable danger 
that the eugenic propaganda may be injured by its well-meaning but 
misinformed friends; hence it were better that physicians profess to know 
nothing about the significance of heredity and eugenics than to disseminate 
erroneous or vague ideas about these matters. On the other hand, due to 
their peculiar position of influence and respect, if properly advised about 
eugenics, physicians could be the most potent factors in spreading, and 
giving proper direction to, the eugenic propaganda. The above-mentioned

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