Medicine: Sterilization

Virginia and a baker's dozen of other U. S. states have laws providing for the sterilization of mental defectives. Passage of such laws is difficult. Mental hygienists, sociologists, doctors were obliged to argue tactfully with diffident legislators. When doctors tried to sterilize some of the defectives appeal was made to the U. S. Supreme Court. Mr. Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes curtly quieted objections. Said he: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough." Such laws are constitutional (TIME, May 16, 1927).

In Switzerland last week the problem was handled frankly, swiftly. When a bill...

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