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Websters New World Dictionary defines eugenics as the movement devoted to improving the human species through the control of hereditary factors in mating The use of words control and mating in one sentence appears to be oxymoronic In nature there is no control--one simply gets what one gets Scientific studies on the other hand are very controlled and specific Scientists have extensively studied and worked hard only to learn of a few genes which have been identified as markers for breast cancer and Huntingtons disease Is the use of this kind of information for deciding whether to reproduce truly considered eugenics No the issue is personal freedom versus involuntary movement The eugenics movement made sterilizations legal and was completely involuntary but today genetic counseling is becoming more widely used as modern day couples consider their pedigrees to determine whether their plans should include children This complete freedom of choice is in direct conflict with the controlled and involuntary aspect of the eugenics movement Due to the association people make with the word eugenics which reminds them of the atrocities of Nazi Germany and has such a negative connotation that it is difficult to imagine positive eugenics The term eugenics also meaning well born could have a positive aspect when couples voluntarily decide not to reproduce due to an inheritable genetic factor in their own pedigrees The eugenics movement really got under way in the United States during the early 1930s More than half the States in the US legalized the involuntary sterilization of the feebleminded As the movement gained momentum the US government staged fitness contests and encouraged Fit Families to reproduce and began to relax their standards on who qualified for involuntary sterilization The possible extent of the eugenics movement was realized in Germany when the media began publicizing photographs of the outright extermination of the Jewish and Polish people The media exposure coupled with the knowledge of
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