Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Truth About Sterilization

The following excerpts are from Chapter 6 of The Manual of Hygiene - Father and Son by M.A. Horn.

(sadly, chapter 5, "The Age-Old Custom of Circumcision", was too fact-laden to wring any humour from it)

The Truth About Sterilization

(Ignore the lies you've been told up until now - M.A. Horn is here to set things straight for you!)

To the average layman, the subject of sterilization is one about which he knows little. It is surrounded with an aura of mystery, sounds very complicated and the average man is likely to dismiss it from his mind as something of no interest to him.

(Sterilization = no babies; verrrry mysterious. It's no wonder those stupid laymen can't grasp the concept!)

In a man, the operation is a minor on and it is practically painless. It takes only a short time, may be performed in a physician's office and requires no hospitalization. It is done under a local anaesthetic and is so simple and easily accomplished that the man need not remain away from his employment for a period longer than it takes to have the operation performed - a period of a half to one hour perhaps.

(A vasectomy has been described to me as similar to being kicked extremely hard in the crotch for 24 hours straight. But men in 1948 had been through a war, so I suppose they had to grin and bear it)

There is no stigma or humiliation attached to it. It is a protection to the person and to society - not a punishment - as many people suppose.

(Protection... from... whom exactly? Neighborhood bullies who point and laugh at your obvious sterility?)

In the matter of sterilization of the unfit, California has taken a decided lead over other states in its use - as a legal protective measure for the health and happiness of its citizens.

(...protecting them from...)

The Human Betterment Foundation was established in this state and on its statute books will be found many laws governing the sterilization of persons committed to its state institutions. The Foundation has made an intensive study of all the facts regarding sterilization.

(okay, protection from institutionalized people. Well, as long as all the facts are in order, way to go, California!)

California has sterilized thousands of persons in its various institutions and has enabled these persons to return to their homes and become useful citizens. The operation has prevented the breaking up of many homes and has saved many marriages. It has prevented the birth of children to those with bad hereditary traits, such as feeble mindedness, so that such children may not come into the world only to endanger other persons and to eventually become state charges.

(Wait wait wait California.. this sounds a little.. um... you know... wrong...)

It has been estimated that there are about 6,500,000 mentally deficient persons in the United States - that is persons with less than seventy percent of average intelligence. The Human Betterment Foundation has shown that this situation can not only be controlled, but that the number of mentally deficient as well as feeble-minded, can be greatly reduced over a period of years if the principle of eugenic sterilization is applied generally.

(oh my god... Bad Human Betterment Foundation... bad California! Bad!)

Sterilization receives the greatest amount of praise from those who have actually had the operation performed - the patients themselves. For it is patients, as well as their families, state officials, social workers and others, who best realize its great benefits to society.

Aside from the great good which has been accomplished by the sterilization of the feeble minded, of heads of families perpetually on public charity, of sexual delinquents, etc., the operation is becoming increasingly popular as a protection of happiness for normal people. As an instance let us take the hypothetical case of a man and wife in poor circumstances, with a family of perhaps eight or nine children. Due to lack of adequate finances or to the poor health of one parent or the other, this couple feels they should have no more children, both in justice to themselves and to their children.

(With 8 or 9 children, that one extra mouth to feed is such to a burden. Good thing they thought of slowing down on the childbearing before it was too late!)

In thousands of situations like this, instead of resorting to sterilization of the male, they have either abstained from marriage relations altogether - and so grew away from each other - or the wife has resorted to strong contraceptives, abortions even, and wrecked herself physically. In either case the home was eventually broken up and left one parent faced with the problem of rearing the children alone - often causing them to be public charges.

(M.A. Horn seems quite optimistic for once, so I'm sure this is a best case scenario.)

After World War II, during which mass sterilization was practiced by the Nazis, means whereby sterilized persons might again become fertile occupied the interest of the medical profession.

(Except in California. That sort of thing doesn't interest them at all.)

Recently, Dr. Vincent J. O'Conor of Northwestern University medical school, revealed that he had performed successful restorative operations on nine out of 14 patients who had been surgically sterilized. Questionnaires were sent to 1,240 recognized specialists, 750 of whom replied, disclosing that out of 420 operations, 239 were failures, 180 were successful and 31 were said to be successful in that the wives of the men became pregnant although the men operated upon were not examined after the operation.

(No comment...)

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