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Sterilization - Essay Example

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In respect of mentally disabled persons, birth control results in the emergence of several arguments to the fore. These issues depend on the people involved and their physical and mental condition. The situation is so complicated that on several occasions the course adopted has been to curtail debate to arriving at a decision as to whether the sterilization procedure is to be adopted or discarded (Opinion on the contraception for the mentally handicapped…
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Download file to see previous pages The reason for these elaborate procedures is that a great deal of concern exists in respect of the acceptance of requests for such sterilizations, due to the current legal position (Opinion on the contraception for the mentally handicapped. Document Number 49, 1996).
Article 16-3 of the Code Civil permits injury to a person's body, only if it is essential for curing some inherent disease. Further, such legal sanction is available only if the individual, who will be affected by such treatment, expresses willingness to undergo such medical procedure (Civil Code of 1804 - Napoleon Code, 2005).
A number of issues have to be addressed, namely, it is evident that it is difficult if not impossible to vindicate a medical course of action whose objective is to bring about contraception; mental retardation constitutes insufficient justification for contraception and it is well nigh impossible to obtain the voluntary and educated willingness of a mentally retarded person. Moreover, the possibility of young, mentally retarded women being subjected to abusive action is a palpable risk (Opinion on the contraception for the mentally handicapped. Document Number 49, 1996).
In order to address these issues several eugenic sterilization laws were enacted in some of the countries. In the year 1907, the state of Indiana enacted such laws for the first time in the United States. The subsequent decade saw the enactment of analogous legislation by fifteen more states. By the year 1936, around twenty - seven states had enacted such legislation (Opinion on the contraception for the mentally handicapped. Document Number 49, 1996).
In the case of Buck v. Bell, the US Supreme Court had to decide about the constitutional validity of a law that had been enacted in 1924, in the State of Virginia. Of the nine justices who heard this case, eight held that sterilization could be enforced by a State for eugenic causes. Further, they held that birth control was not a type of cruel or unusual punishment.
In Buck v. Bell the callousness of the judiciary is clearly depicted. In this case Oliver Wendell Holmes, the presiding judge, had Carrie Buck sterilized for being an imbecile. Later on he wrote stating that this decision afforded him immense pleasure. This eugenic sterilization statute of the State of Virginia violated constitutional rights of individuals. The ramification of this unfortunate decision were that it served as a precedent for similar laws and decisions in thirty other states, which resulted in the sterilization of around fifty thousand people. This case was cited as a justification for their similar evil deeds by the Nazis during the Nuremberg Trials, after World War II. In the German endeavour, named the Rassenhygiene, two million people were sterilized (Buck v. Bell. 274 U.S. 200 (1927), 1999).
However, in some States, these sterilization laws were applied very rarely and quite a few of these laws were repealed. Nevertheless, in the States of Virginia and California, approximately sixty thousand ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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