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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 89 pages of information about The Fertility of the Unfit.

CHAPTER XII.

SUGGESTIONS AS TO APPLICATION.

The State’s humanitarian zeal protects the lives and fosters the fertility of the degenerate.—­A confirmed or hereditary criminal defined.—­Law on the subject of sterilization could at first be permissive.—­It should apply, to begin with, to criminals and the insane.—­Marriage certificates of health should be required.—­Women’s readiness to submit to surgical treatment for minor as well as major pelvic diseases.—­Surgically induced sterility of healthy women a greater crime than abortion.—­This danger not remote.

The fertility of the unfit goes on unrestrained by any other check, save vice and misery.  The great moral checks have not, and cannot have any place with them.  But the State is, by its humanitarian zeal, limiting the scope and diminishing the force of these natural checks amongst all classes of the community, but especially amongst the unfit, so that its policy now fosters the fertility of this class, while it fails to arrest the declining nativity of our best citizens.  The greater the fertility of the unfit, the greater the burden the fit have to bear, and the less their fertility.

The State’s present policy therefore, fosters the fertility of the unfit, and discourages the fertility of the fit.  This disastrous policy must be changed without delay.  The State can arrest the gradual degradation of its people, by sterilizing all defective women and the wives of defective men falling into the hands of the law.  Mr. Henry M. Boies in “Prisoners and Paupers” suggests life-long isolation.  He says:—­“It is time however that society should interpose in this propagation of criminals.  It is irrational and absurd to occupy our attention and exhaust our liberality with the care of his constantly growing class, without any attempt to restrict its reproduction.  This is possible too, without violating any humanitarian instinct, by imprisonment for life; and this seems to be the most practicable solution of the problem in America.  As soon as an individual can be identified as an hereditary or chronic criminal, society shall confine him or her in a penitentiary at self-supporting labour for life.

Every State should have an institution, adapted to the safe and secure separation of such from society, where they can be employed at productive labour, without expense to the public, during their natural life.  When this is ended with them, the class will become extinct, and not before.  Then each generation would only have to take care of its own moral cripples and defectives, without the burden of the constantly increasing inheritance of the past.  When upon a third conviction the judicial authorities determine the prisoner to belong to the criminal class, the law should imperatively require the sentence to be the penitentiary for life, whatever the particular crime committed.”

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