Student Perspectives

Eugenics: Science as Morality by Medical Student Zane Foster

Posted by Sheldon Rubenfeld on December 26, 2016

After WWII and the revelations of the Nazi Doctors’ Trial, eugenics was looked upon with disfavor. American eugenicists still believed in eugenics exported sterilization, abortion, and population to Third World countries like India, Korea, and the Philippines through the United Nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They also consciously transformed the discredited (pseudo)science of eugenics into medical genetics, which seemed avant garde, scientifically sound and, most importantly, culturally acceptable. Because of recent scientific advances such as assisted reproductive technologies and the Human Genome Project, concern about eugenics, biological determinism, and dehumanization in medicine have resurfaced. Reflecting on the resurgence of eugenics, Baylor College of Medicine student Zane Foster expresses his hope “that as modern physician-scientists we would make better decisions that were made in the early 20th century” and his fear that “in another century, who knows what actions today will be considered barbaric.”

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