Eugenic Sterilization in the United States

  • Philip R. Reilly


The most important event in the rise of state-supported programs to sterilize the feebleminded, the insane, and criminals was the rediscovery in about 1900 of Mendel’s breeding experiments. The elegant laws of inheritance were seductive, and a few influential scientists, convinced that even conditions such as pauperism were caused by defective germ plasm, rationalized eugenic programs.1 But by the close of the nineteenth century, the science of eugenics was already well established.


Supra Note Germ Plasm Surrogate Mother Interracial Marriage Wrongful Life 
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Copyright information

© Aubrey Milunsky and George J. Annas 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip R. Reilly
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineBoston City HospitalBostonUSA

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