December 28

1942: The American Psychiatric Association debated legalizing murder (euthanasia)

In 1942, psychiatrists debated legalizing murder (“euthanasia”) at the American Psychiatric Association. Foster Kennedy, MD, advocated killing “feebleminded” “defective” children whom he called “Nature’s mistakes” “hopeless ones who should never have been born.” (Jay Joseph. The Missing Gene… 2006) He opposed euthanasia for normal, but severely ill adults. Dr. Leo Kanner argued against the validity of the concept “feebleminded.”

An unsigned editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry (1942) endorsed killing “defectives” and endorsed the expansion of compulsory eugenic sterilization. No one argued that it was unethical to kill disabled persons. (Joseph. Euthanasia Debate, 2005) [This debate took place precisely as the Nazi children’s “euthanasia” — i.e., medicalized murder was in full swing in Nazi Germany. * Medicalized Murder]

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