***Wanna Go Straight to the article? click “Is Abortion Eugenics?”***
I recently found myself drawn into a debate (more like Twitter war) on the subject of eugenic abortion. Eugenics refers to the practices and ideas revolving around the concept of “improving the human stock,” as in, animal husbandry but for people. Eugenic abortion is the effort to terminate children-in-utero because they have some quality or trait deemed a “defect.” My post was originally inspired by a recent Politico article which suggests expanding access to late term abortion because of the Zika virus. Here was my original post.
Well, this post drew fire from a friend who is an atheist and pro-choice advocate. He said:
“[It’s] Not ‘eugenics,’ since Zika infection is not a genetic trait.’
And so began roughly a hundred comments between us about what exactly is “eugenics,” and about whether there is such a thing as “eugenic abortion,” and how genetics relate to the subject of eugenics. Now you can imagine how awkward and cumbersome it was to try to address this complicated and weighty issue in sounds-bytes of 140 characters or less. I soon excused myself from that conversation and devoted my energies to a more serious extended response, linked below.
For those of you familiar with the subject of eugenics then you may not be surprised at my course of argument in the linked article. But for those of you who are not familiar with the subject of eugenics, or the interplay of family planning, abortion and contraceptive policies, and their historical interaction with the shady character of eugenics, then the following article may surprise you. If this is the first time you are encountering the notion of eugenics then I strongly encourage you, after perusing my post, to check out some other sources on the history and impact of eugenics.
Other Recommended Sources:
- “Abortion and Eugenics” [Webpage], curated at MIT, n. d.
- Tanya L. Green, “the Negro Project”, Blackgenocide.org [Website], 2012
- John West, Darwin Day in America, ISI, 2007.
- Edwin Black, War Against The Weak, Dialog Press, 2012.
- Peter lombardo, Three Generations, No Imbeciles, Johns Hopkins, 2010
- Cold Springs Harbour Laboratory, Eugenics Archive [Website], n.d.