Minnesota initiative: Compulsory newborn congenital testing
Mon, 24 Mar 2003
The Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee will vote tomorrow on a law requiring the screening of every newborn baby to ascertain who may have a congenital disorder.
It is important to note that this “public health” initiative is not intended to provide treatment to the babies who may (or may not) have such a congenital disorder. This initiative is intended only to screen and register “less than perfect” babies into a database. To what purpose?
Is the American eugenics movement on the march once again?
For those who are unfamiliar with the significance of the eugenics movement and its end consequences–both in the U.S. and Europe–see: Sterilization used to ‘weed out the weak’ by Emil Guillermo, Stockton Record, March 15, 2003
See also, Yale Study: U.S. Eugenics Paralleled Nazi Germany by David Morgan Published on Tuesday, February 15, 2000 in the Chicago Tribune (below)
See also, Vermont Eugenics: http://cit.uvm.edu:6336/dynaweb/eugenics
It was not until 1980 that a Vermont court overturned the state’s sterilization policy. In that small state, there were approximately 257-259 sterilizations of which 85 were done to men, 174 to women.
See also, Virginia’s Eugenics Legacy:
For Germany’s eugenics laws that set the stage for the Nazi extermination amps, see: The Nuremberg Laws, adopted in 1935 http://www.chgs.umn.edu/Educational_Resources/Curriculum/Broken_Threads/Nuremberg_Laws/nuremberg_laws.html
Often quoted but worth repeating,
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Citizens’ Council on Health Care
1954 University Ave. W., Suite 8
St. Paul, MN 55104
CONTACT:Twila Brase, R.N., President
MINNESOTA COMMITTEE VOTES TOMORROW ON CREATING INVENTORY OF “LESS THAN PERFECT” CHILDREN
(St. Paul, Minnesota) – Every newborn child in Minnesota will be required to submit to medical testing for congenital disorders and defects — unless parents make an objection in writing that is based on a conflict with religious tenets and practice. No other objections are allowed.
The Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee will vote tomorrow on the HHS budget bill, which includes the requirement for medical testing of children, and the requirement that a state birth defects registry be created.
“Minnesota is proposing a statewide inventory of the ‘less than perfect’. No government should be allowed to create databases on its citizens, least of all on citizens who happen to be born with less than perfect physical health,” says Twila Brase, president of the St. Paul-based Citizens’ Council on Health Care.
Brase notes that a similar initiative in 1997 was defeated when parent and patient consent for placement on the registry was amended to the bill. Health officials got legislators in the HHS omnibus bill conference committee to strip out all the language to prevent enactment of the consent requirements.
“This is no better idea now than it was in 1997 when it was defeated. Citizens should not be required to submit to medical testing without patient or parent consent. The potential for discrimination and unconsented medical research on the less fortunate is enormous.”
The legislation, which has been introduced as part of the omnibus HHS bill [HF 904(Bradley)/SF821(Kiscaden)], will also allow the commissioner of health to periodically revise the list of tests to be administered–without public notice or comment. Such revisions will have the force and effect of law.
“This legislation seeks to provide the state of Minnesota with unprecedented authority to submit its citizens to medical testing. The list of congenital defects can be expanded ad infinitum. Even genetic testing is not out of the question.”
“Citizens need to understand. This is not newborn screening, this is defect testing,” added Brase.
CCHC is an independent non-profit free-market health care policy organization located in St. Paul, Minnesota.
A free-market resource for designing the future of health care
Citizens’ Council on Health Care
1954 University Ave.W., Suite 8
St. Paul, MN 55104
Published on Tuesday, February 15, 2000 in the Chicago Tribune
Yale Study: U.S.. Eugenics Paralleled Nazi Germany
by David Morgan
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – U.S. doctors who once believed that sterilization could help rid society of mental illness and crime launched a 20th century eugenics movement that in some ways paralleled the policies of Nazi Germany, researchers said on Monday.
A Yale study tracing a once-popular movement aimed at improving society through selective breeding, indicates that state-authorized sterilizations were carried out longer and on a larger scale in the United States than previously believed, beginning with the first state eugenics law in Indiana in 1907.
Despite modern assumptions that American interest in eugenics waned during the 1920s, researchers said sterilization laws had authorized the neutering of more than 40,000 people classed as insane or "feebleminded” in 30 states by 1944. Another 22,000 underwent sterilization from the mid-1940s to 1963, despite weakening public support and revelations of Nazi atrocities, according to the study, funded by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Merck Co. Foundation.
Forced sterilization was legal in 18 U.S. states, and most states with eugenics laws allowed people to be sterilized without their consent by leaving the decision to a third party. "The comparative histories of the eugenical sterilization campaigns in the United States and Nazi Germany reveal important similarities of motivation, intent and strategy,” the study’s authors wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a journal published by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.
Eugenics sprang from the philosophy of social Darwinism, which envisioned human society in terms of natural selection and suggested that science could engineer progress by attacking supposedly hereditary problems including moral decadence, crime, venereal disease, tuberculosis and alcoholism. "The eugenics laws in the United States were virulent, just as they were in Sweden, France and Australia,” said Art Caplan, head of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics.
The U.S. practice ended in the 1960s after being overwhelmed by court challenges and the civil rights movement. German and American eugenics advocates both believed science could solve social problems, tended to measure the worth of the individual in economic terms and felt mental illness a threat to society grave enough to warrant compulsive sterilization.
And while Nazi claims of Aryan superiority are well known, researchers said U.S. advocates of sterilization worried that the survival of old-stock America was being threatened by the influx of "lower races” from southern and eastern Europe. There was also mutual admiration, with early U.S. policies drawing glowing reviews from authorities in pre-Nazi Germany.
"Germany is perhaps the most progressive nation in restricting fecundity among the unfit,” editors of the New England Journal of Medicine wrote in 1934, a year after Hitler became chancellor. U.S. Eugenics Movement Waned But the study, based partly on old editorials from the New England journal and the Journal of the American Medical Association, also demonstrated how the U.S. eugenics movement gradually waned while its Nazi counterpart carried out 360,000 to 375,000 sterilizations during the 1930s and grew to encompass so-called "mercy” killings.
"In the United States, a combination of public unease, Roman Catholic opposition, federal democracy, judicial review and critical scrutiny by the medical profession reversed the momentum,” the article said. The U.S. practice of neutering "mentally defective” individuals was backed by most leading geneticists and often justified on grounds that it would relieve the public of the cost of caring for future generations of the mentally ill. Sterilizations also took place mainly in public mental institutions, where the poor and ethnic or racial minorities were housed in disproportionately high numbers.
"It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind,” Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in the majority opinion of a landmark eugenics case in 1926.
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