Op-Ed

Originally published in Collective Voices Vol. 1 Issue 2, Spring 2005

Next to Nazi Germany, the United States may have had the second largest eugenic movement historically. From forced sterilization and population control to dangerous contraceptives, eugenics has been cloaked in and marketed as the solution to many social and health concerns.

Sujatha Jesudason, Director of the Program on Gender, Justice and Human Genetics at the Center for Genetics and Society, states, "We have a long history of eugenics in this country, especially in the state of California, which enacted laws of forced sterilization and segregation in the early 1900." She also noted that California, along with North Carolina, South Carolina, Oregon and Virginia, issued public apologies for forced sterilizations practiced as late as the 1970s. According to Jesudason, new genetic and reproductive technologies are raising the specter of eugenics again. Two of these new technologies are pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and sex selection. PGD is used to test embryos before implanting into the uterus for severe genetic diseases like Down's Syndrome, Huntington's Chorea and Tay-Sachs disease. The disability rights...