discussion and 2 replies

I’m studying for my Law class and need an explanation.


Step 1: Post your response to the following:

In 1924, Virginia adopted a statute authorizing the compulsory sterilization (i.e., a procedure that renders persons unable to have children) of persons with intellectual disabilities for the purpose of eugenics. Carrie Buck, an 18-year-old, was described by the superintendent of the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded as “feebleminded” (an archaic term used to label individuals who had intellectual disabilities or who had certain cognitive impairments) and a genetic threat to society. Carrie was housed at the same institution as her mother, who was also labeled as feebleminded. In addition, Carrie was the mother of a child born outside of marriage who was classified as feebleminded.

The superintendent requested that Carrie be sexually sterilized so she would be unable to have additional children, arguing that it was for the betterment of society. The Supreme Court agreed. In an 8 to 1 decision, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated:

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…Three generations of imbeciles are enough. (274 U.S. 200, P. 208).

  1. Eugenics sterilization programs were eventually abolished. In fact, in 2002, Virginia Governor Mark Warner formally apologized for Virginia’s sterilization program (Virginia governor apologizes, 2002). In 2015, the Virginia General Assembly approved payments of up to $25,000 to persons sterilized under Virginia’s eugenics program (Virginia to compensate, 2015). Is this sufficient recourse for Virginia’s prior practice of sterilization? Why or why not? Explain.

Choose one of the following:

  1. Today, debate continues about castration (usually through the administration of drugs) of sex offenders. Arguments for the practice suggests it reduces recidivism and increases the safety of citizens (e.g., namely children). Arguments against the practice highlight moral and medical concerns about implementing compulsory sterilization, and indicate possible due process and and cruel and unusual punishment issues (Runckel, 1997). In light of what you’ve learned, which side of the argument do you find more persuasive? Why or why not? Explain. *Note–California was the first U.S. state to specify the use of chemical castration for repeat child molesters as a condition of their parole.
  2. There was no sound scientific basis for eugenics, and yet categories such as “feebleminded” were created for classifying individuals. Eugenicists also believed that qualities such as poverty, criminality, and good or bad work ethic were passed down through genes. The majority of people targeted for sterilization were deemed of inferior intelligence, particularly poor people and eventually people of color (Black, 2003). Why do you think these ideas took hold? What do you think was appealing to some people (e.g., scientists, politicians, social reformers, etc.) about these ideas? Explain.
  • Include your own overall question that you had about the readings.


  1. Your post should be a minimum of 400 words each, answer all parts of the prompt, use proper APA citation style, and is due Friday by 11:59 pm (CA time).
  2. Demonstrate written communication skills by using complete paragraphs, accurate grammar, and proper mechanics.
  3. Draw from the readings and other course content to answer the questions.
  4. Review APA in-text and reference citations here: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html (Links to an external site.)

You are strongly encouraged to type your responses in a Word document before pasting it into Canvas. Technical glitches, though rare, do happen, and it is frustrating to lose your work.

6 Points


Step 2: Read all other posts. Respond to the posts of at least two students.

  • In your responses, you can agree or disagree with your classmates, but if differences of opinion occur, provide examples to support your opinions. You are expected to use APA citation style.
  • Reply posts should be at least 200 words each and are due Sunday by 11:59pm (CA time).
    • I would like everyone to receive at least one comment, so scroll through the discussion to find posts that do not already have responses.
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