Reproductive rights in the United States: A review of the evolution of eugenics
Smith, Danielle L.
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All living things have an innate desire to reproduce in order to maintain their existence. The laws of nature suggest that organisms that do not possess the most desirable or adaptable traits in a population will not be able to survive. Most often, this evolutionary process occurs naturally as organisms compete for survival in an ever-changing environment. Historical events have demonstrated that the human’s role in reproduction has been challenged and often manipulated by means of selective breeding in order to control which individuals in the population are capable for procreation. The goal of this thesis is to accurately portray specific instances in the history of the United States that have limited reproductive rights of individuals by way of eugenic principles and actions. It is also the intention of this paper to emphasize previous measures in eugenics that have lead up to modern-day ideas concerning the right to reproduce. It is important for both the scientific community, as well as members of society, to evaluate ways in which society can learn from its past endeavors in order to make educated decisions for present and future proceedings dealing with eugenic ideas. A detailed analysis of the historical decisions that have occurred in relation to eugenics may inform society about the current thinking and practices pertaining to the right to reproduce.