Eugenics is a social agenda that seeks to remove genetically 'defective' humans from society by means of abortion, sterilisation and euthanasia.The term eugenics was first coined by Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, in the 1890s and gained much support and power in the first half of the twentieth century. Galton, and others, believed that eugenics should develop from a science to a policy and finally into a religion. 1
- In the past the Eugenics Society has heavily funded Family Planning groups and International Planned Parenthood.
- Doctors in the Nazi T4 euthanasia programme were initially motivated by compassion.
- Driven underground after WWII, eugenics was incorporated into birth and population control agendas.
- Falling fertility rates raise fears that there may come the obligation of a duty-to-die.
- The chief opponent to the progress of eugenics and population control has always been the Catholic Church.
Eugenicists were worried that those they considered to be genetically defective members of society were human "weeds" who must be prevented from passing on their "deleterious" genes.
In pursuit of their social agenda, the eugenics movement adopted two faces, a "positive" one, which concentrated on exhorting the genetically gifted to reproduce, and a "negative" one, which sought to prevent the defective from breeding.
Julian Huxley, the first Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and a member of the Eugenics Society said:
"We must face the fact that now, in this year of grace, the great majority of human beings are substandard: they are undernourished, or ill, or condemned to a ceaseless struggle for bare existence; they are imprisoned in ignorance or superstition. . . . We must see to it that life is no longer a hell paved with unrealized opportunity. . . . In this light, the highest and most sacred duty of man is seen as the proper utilization of the untapped resources of human beings.Eugenics in action
I find myself inevitably driven to use the language of religion. For the fact is that all this does add up to something in the nature of a religion: perhaps one might call it Evolutionary Humanism. The word 'religion' is often used restrictively to mean belief in gods; but I am not using it in this sense . . .
I am using it in a broader sense, to denote an overall relation between man and his destiny, and one involving his deepest feelings, including his sense of what is sacred. In this broad sense, evolutionary humanism, it seems to me, is capable of becoming the germ of a new religion, not necessarily supplanting existing religions but supplementing them." 2
In 1922, two menâ€”a lawyer and a psychiatrist, Karl Binding, J.D., and Alfred Hoche, M.D. together wrote a short book entitled Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens (Permission to Destroy Life Devoid of Value). This book was cited at the Nuremberg War Trials as the key factor behind the Nazi T4 euthanasia programme which led to the Death Camps.
Hitler's determination to establish his "master race" was at first approved by eugenicists in other countries, and in America, Margaret Sanger's Birth Control Review praised the effectiveness of the Germans, and published articles by RÃ¼din and others. 3 German doctors who were involved with the T4 programme initially began the practice of killing the intellectually and physically disabled for reasons of compassion.
The testimony at Nuremberg of Karl Brandt, the medic responsible for co-ordinating the German euthanasia programme, show us how easy it is for well-meaning people to become desensitised by their actions:
"My underlying motive was the desire to help individuals who could not help themselves... such considerations should not be regarded as inhuman. Nor did I feel it in any way to be unethical or immoral...Driven underground following the Second World War, and reports of Nazi atrocities, the Eugenics movement is once more florishing in many countries, funded and supported by extremely wealthy organisations, foundations and people.
I am convinced that if Hippocrates were alive today he would change the wording of his oath... in which a doctor is forbidden to administer poison to an invalid even on demand...
I have a perfectly clear conscience about the part I played in the affair. I am perfectly conscious that when I said yes to euthanasia I did so with the greatest conviction, just as it is my conviction today that it is right." 4
Dr. Carlos Paton Blacker, of the Eugenics Society in England, called for a new policy which he called "crypto-eugenics." The principal tool of crypto-eugenics was to be Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood began in the offices of the Eugenics Society, and stayed there for many years. The work of the organization was to provide birth control for the dysgenic. 5
The field of bioethics is a response to issues raised by eugenics. Bioethics is based on situation ethics, which was developed largely by Joseph Fletcher, a member of the American Eugenics Society.
The word 'bioethics' was first used to refer to questions about population and environment, in the late 1960's. In the 1970's, it came to refer to questions including abortion, contraception, euthanasia and artificial insemination.
A new focus
In 1952, Planned Parenthood and the Population Council were funded, founded and staffed by eugenicists. The eugenics movement was alive and thriving, still working to get rid of unwanted populations.
Some of the well-known arms of the Eugenics movement are: The Marie Stopes Memorial Foundation, a subsidiary subsidised by the Eugenics Society; the Family Planning Association and the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, which are heavily financed by the Eugenics Society; the Voluntary Sterilisation Association was directed from the same address as the Eugenics Society; the Galton Foundation, run by the Eugenics Society; and others.
When it comes to population control, the same people seem interchangeable in the administration hierarchies. The same eugenicists who promoted abortion are now pushing for euthanasia to kill the old who, they say, have become non-productive and a burden to society. The same argument being used for both abortion and euthanasia is that of 'personhood'.
Disabled rights activist groups are becoming more prominent in the fight against the legalisation of EAS. Groups such as Not Dead Yet and Do No Harm are constantly in the public eye whenever there are court cases involving those seeking a right-to-die, or those accused of a 'mercy killing.'
In America in the mid-1980's, Richard Scott, a Hemlock co-founder, and psychologist Faye Girsh, the Executive Director of the Hemlock Society, brought and pursued a "right to die" court case on behalf of a 26-year-old woman with cerebral palsy in California, Elizabeth Bouvia, who asked for help to starve to death after a miscarriage and marriage break-up.
Medical killing is the most cost-effective way to "treat" expensive health conditions, and many Health Providers facing budget deficits are practicing healthcare rationing.
Almost every country in the developed world, where birth control and abortion are practised, is facing a population implosion due to fertility rates dropping below replacement level.
In many countries, more people are dying each year than are being born. European populations are beginning to die off and their governments are suddenly encountering a host of new social problems, such as increasing numbers of the elderly, relative to other population sectors and labour shortages.
Some countries are offering women incentives to have more children but even if this does work, it will not happen quickly enough to remedy the fact that there will soon be more people of retirement age than taxpayers can support.
Opponents to EAS claim that, when this happens, it will become a citizen's duty-to-die.
The American Eugenics Society ran a eugenics sermon contest in the 1930s to encourage religious leaders to speak out for eugenics in their congregations and got sermons from almost every denomination, including Jews. The exception was the Catholic Church.
The chief opponent to the progress of eugenics and population control has always been the Catholic Church. In the 1965 document Gaudium Et Spes (The Church in the Modern World), Pope Paul VI wrote:
"27. Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. "The eugenics societies expend great energy in trying to destroy or neutralise the Catholic Church's opposition. This is done chiefly by encouraging certain liberal Catholic bishops, priests and laymen and women to publicly disagree with the Church's stand against the imposition of eugenic and population control measures.
- Diane B. Paul, "Eugenics Anxieties, Social Realities, and Political Choices," in Are Genes Us: The Social Consequences of the New Genetics (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1994), p. 149
- Julian Huxley, Evolution in Action (New York: Signet, 1957), p. 132. Huxley's career is indispensable to understanding eugenics. His grandfather Thomas Henry Huxley was a champion of Darwin's theories. Julian Huxley was the founder of the World Wildlife Fund, a member of the Euthanasia Society, a leader in the Abortion Law Reform Association. He served in the English Eugenics Society in various capacities over several decades, including three years as president.
- Stefan Kuhl, The Nazi Connection, (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994)
- Brandt K (1948) Nuremberg Trials
- Faith Schenck and A. S. Parkes, "The Activities of the Eugenics Society," Eugenics Review, vol 60 (1968), pp. 154-155