Full text: Problems in eugenics

20Exhibit C 48. 
C 48-4 
C 48-5 
C 48-6from there on both curves rise, though not in the same degree. 
Premature births have become since then (see Fig. 2) more than 
eight times as frequent; perforations of the head have trebled; and 
dismemberments of the child have doubled. This fact must be 
considered as a sign of lessened birth capacity.” 
“ Figure 4 shows the decrease of the total number of stillbirths.” 
“ Figure 5 gives the share which abnormal position of the child 
has in this total, and a comparison of the two shows that whilst the 
total has decreased by 1.42% the decrease (1880 to 1889) has been 
2.35% in the case of stillbirth through abnormal position. The 
conclusion is, that there is now more opportunity for hereditary 
transmission of the tendency to faulty position of the child than 
three to four decades ago.” 
“ But Figure 6 proves that up to now an increased inheritance 
of this tendency has not taken place. The curves of these positions 
not only show irregularities but (with the exception of cross births) a 
tendency to sink.” 
“Recapitulation. The growing frequency of surgically assisted 
births cannot be taken as evidence of a diminished birth capacity, 
but is closely connected with the growing number of doctors. 
Against the indications of a diminished birth capacity stand at the 
moment those which previously could be taken as pointing in the 
opposite direction. It would, therefore, appear that medical inter­ 
ference at birth has brought to the race advantages as to quantity 
and no drawbacks as to quality. But it is probable that the picture 
will change during the coming decades, because only then will the 
daughters of mothers who could not have brought forth living 
children without surgical assistance become themselves mothers. 
The renunciation of motherhood on the part of the women least 
suited for this function and the war against rickets might act as 
preventatives.” The great anxiety about the elimination of the severest struggle 
for existence is based on the undoubtedly erroneous fundamental 
conception that the organism is a sorry product of necessity which 
can barely manage to maintain a laborious existence by the constant 
straining of all its faculties, and that it requires the continuous use 
of the whip of necessity to prevent an organism from giving way to 
its inherent tendency to degeneration. In fact, however, no 
organism is conceivable which has not the “ Tendency ” to main­ 
tain itself and to react accordingly. There are many facts which 
prove that a wealth of capacities and tendencies is dormant in

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