Regarding Saturday’s guest commentary on population growth, “Issue gets big name in Melinda Gates”: When women take control of their own reproductive abilities, it’s called family planning. Eugenics, on the other hand, is population control through targeted birth control, sterilization, or execution of “unfit” and/or unwanted people. Eugenics advocates often target the poor, physically disabled, and mentally ill.
In the U.S., eugenics was the driving force behind anti-immigration laws, bans on interracial marriage, and the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of mentally ill patients — which continued until 1963. Of course, the most famous eugenics program was carried out in Germany from 1933 to 1945.
Historically, promoters of eugenics used the idea of racial purification to gain support. Today, sustainable population growth is their rallying cry; and they talk about improving quality of life through voluntary birth control. The goal is still the same; preventing “unfit” or unwanted people from reproducing. And, as we’ve seen, these ideas were the basis for some of the most horrific tragedies in human history.
I encourage Herald readers to learn more about eugenics and decide for themselves if the idea is as noble as the author suggests.