Psychiatry, Psychology, and Human Sterilization Then and Now: "Therapeutic" or in the Social Interest?

Dolan, Deborah V.
July 2007
Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry;Summer2007, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p99
Academic Journal
Practitioners of psychiatry and psychology have played an important role in the sterilization of tens of thousands of Americans throughout the past century. This article examines a number of questions relating to the origin and continuation of sterilization as a treatment and preventive. What social and medical beliefs lead to the use of sterilization as a treatment and preventive for both the individual and society? What ills are being treated and prevented? Who becomes a candidate for sterilization? To what degree are ethical concerns raised, and what is the response to these concerns? And finally, Who is the client--the individual, potential children, or society?--and how do practitioners distinguish the interest of the individuals from that of their potential children and society?


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