23 Ky. L.J. 168 (1934-1935)
Sterilization Statute for Kentucky, A; Skinner, George T.

handle is hein.journals/kentlj23 and id is 168 raw text is: NOTES
A STERILIZATION STATUTE FOR KENTUCKY?
Since time immemorial, the criminal and defective have
'been the cancer of society. Strong, intelligent, -useful fami-
lies are becoming smaller and smaller; while irresponsible, dis-
,eased, defective families are becoming larger. The result can
only be race degeneration. To prevent this race suicide we
must prevent the socially inadequate persons from propagating
their kind, i. e., ihe feebleminded, epileptic, insane, criminal,
,diseased, and others.
In America alone there are 18 million persons who are, or
-at some time during life will be burdened by mental disease or
mental defect, and in one way or another the burden will be
,shifted upon the rest of the population. Every stratum of
-society suffers from the misery resulting from insanity and
-feeblemindedness. The economic burden may be conservatively
,estimated at a billion dollars a year for their care either in or
out of institutions. Also, there is a noticeable effect upon our
.government, because of the weakening effect of so large a num-
ber of voters mentally abnormal.
The problem can best be solved by a harmless surgical
operation, namely sterilization of men and women who are so
-seriously defective, that, for the protection of themselves, and
-their families, of society and of posterity, they should not bear
and rear children.'
However, the opponent of sterilization would say that the
;above statements are mere axiomatic truisms: that they show no
-true causal relation between the delinquency and sterilization.
-There is a woeful condition, to be sure, but can science put its
finger on the exact cases of heredity and those of environment?
The problem regarding the inheritance of mental disorders has
mot been fully worked out. Estimates on feeblemindedness due
'to heredity range practically from twenty percent to eighty
percent, the results being not altogether concordant.2 Eugenics
1 Gosney and Popenoe, Sterffization for Human Betterment.
223 Il1. L. R. 463. Sterilization of Mental Defectives, Landman.

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