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The New EugenicsSelective Breeding in an Era of Reproductive Technologies$
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Judith Daar

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300137156

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300137156.001.0001

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Disability and Procreative Diminishment

Disability and Procreative Diminishment

(p.132) Six Disability and Procreative Diminishment
The New Eugenics

Judith Daar

Yale University Press

This chapter looks at how today's denials for ART treatment based on a prospective parent's disability are worrying analogues to the eugenics past, an era in which misguided judgments about parental fitness culminated in the involuntary sterilization of thousands of Americans. Whereas past eugenicists coerced the “feeble-minded” into surrendering their reproductive capacity through forced sterilizations, today's practices deprive the differently abled of their capacity to reproduce by withholding the technological means necessary to produce a child. By focusing on the meaning of disability in contemporary society as both an acquired and inherited characteristic, the chapter considers how the presence of a disability in a would-be parent and its likely appearance in any resulting offspring shape the conduct of physicians and patients alike.

Keywords:   ART treatment, disability, eugenics era, parental fitness, involuntary sterilization, reproductive capacity

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