Full text: Problems in eugenics

Wagenen.Appendix.479 9.—Summing up of the Preliminary Study. 
This is only a preliminary report, and we have touched in a desultory 
way upon only a few of the many aspects of our subject worthy of con­ 
sideration. While we do not feel justified in offering conclusions based 
upon the data already accumulated, we may say tentatively that such as we 
have seem to indicate :— 
1st. That the sterilization of the adult male by vasectomy is a simple, 
practicable method of preventing procreation by him without otherwise inter­ 
fering with his sexual functions, but that it is not certainly permanent in this 
respect. Castration only is sure. 
2nd. That sterilization of the adult female by either salpingectomy 
(ligating or excising), ovariotomy, or hysterectomy, or all three, is never 
wholly free from danger to life or to disturbance of other bodily and mental 
functions. Modern surgery and hospital care have greatly reduced these 
dangers, but they still exist. 
3rd. That sterilization of adults by any of these processes does not 
appear greatly to modify previous sex characteristics, and habits. In 
females sexual passion is sometimes increased. In males more often some­ 
what mitigated. 
4th. That there is little probability that sexual immorality would be 
encouraged or increased as a result of the sterilization of those manifestly 
unfit for parenthood. Our investigations indicate that such persons seldom 
are deterred from immoral practices by any consideration which sterilizing 
would remove. 
5th. That our knowledge is, as yet, so limited that only a few types 
could safely be selected at the present time as suitable for compulsory 
sterilization. Individuals of these types would generally require more or 
less custodial care throughout life, whether sterilized or not, but their 
sterilization would be an insurance against unworthy progeny, and so 
eugenically of value. 
6th. That vasectomy may become a Eugenic measure of considerable 
value if practised under the general protection of law, but by persuasion 
and with the consent of the individual (or his guardians) who is unfitted for 
parenthood, instead of by compulsion. That this consent can often be 
obtained, when conditions warrant it, has been clearly shown. 
7th. That the sterilization laws already enacted in United States will 
have to undergo vigorous attacks before the highest courts before many more 
compulsory operations are performed, with the probability that there will 
eventually be material modifications of them.

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