Around the turn of the 20th Century, Francis Galton created a pseudoscientific approach to “improving” society through selective breeding. Building on Charles Darwin’s survival of the fittest, he launched a movement that would lead to the forced sterilization of thousands of Americans — especially racial minorities and those considered “unfit” — in the name of social progress. While Americans eventually abandoned eugenics and decry its horrors today, some of the same horrors are perpetrated on children and people with disabilities in the name of self-actualization.
Both the transgender and abortion movements have eerie echoes of this dark chapter in America’s past. Supposed treatments for gender dysphoria — the persistent identification with the gender opposite one’s birth sex — involve sterilization and are disproportionately applied to children with Autism. Abortion clinics target black women with the message that abortion is empowering despite the plain fact that it involves killing an unborn baby.
While neither transgenderism nor abortion is designed to prevent Autistic people or minorities from having children, they arguably achieve some of the eugenics movement’s horrific goals. Both also traffic in pseudoscience to deny the biological reality of sex and the humanity of unborn babies.
Eugenics took America by storm in the early 1900s during the so-called Progressive Era. Self-styled progressives like Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson believed in the power of science and bureaucracy to fix society’s problems. Yet some forms of science remained in their infancy, and pervasive racism corrupted the supposed “science” of eugenics.
While Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger advocated birth control, many went further. From 1909 to 1979, California’s mental institutions carried out around 20,000 sterilizations under the guise of protecting society from the children of the mentally ill. It wasn’t just California: 33 states went on to allow involuntary sterilization of whomever lawmakers deemed unworthy to have children. Many racial minorities were targeted for this.
In 1927, the Supreme Court ruled that forced sterilization does not violate the Constitution. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes notoriously said, “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” The ruling was overturned in 1942, but not before thousands of people were sterilized. In the 1930s, Puerto Rico Governor Menendez Ramos implemented sterilization programs for Puerto Rican women, claiming it was necessary to fight poverty and strife.
Americans widely rejected eugenics after the discovery of Adolf Hitler’s atrocities in the Holocaust. However, as late as 1976, a Government Accountability Office investigation found that between 25 and 50 percent of Native Americans were sterilized between 1970 and 1976 — some without consent during other surgical procedures such as an appendectomy.
Modern Americans rightly cringe at the idea of the government taking away a person’s ability to have children, especially for racist reasons or based on the idea that someone was “unfit” to be a parent. Yet echoes of this movement persist.
The abortion movement has a historically close connection to eugenics. As Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote last year, “The foundations for legalizing abortion in America were laid during the early 20th-century birth-control movement. That movement developed alongside the American eugenics movement. And significantly, … Margaret Sanger recognized the eugenic potential of her cause. She emphasized and embraced the notion that birth control ‘opens the way to the eugenist.'”
“As a means of reducing the ‘ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all,’ Sanger argued that ‘Birth Control . . . is really the greatest and most truly eugenic method’ of ‘human generation.'” While Sanger herself condemned abortion, many eugenicists supported legalizing abortion, most notably Sanger’s later replacement, Planned Parenthood President Alan Guttmacher.
Thomas warned that “Sanger’s arguments about the eugenic value of birth control in securing ‘the elimination of the unfit,’ … apply with even greater force to abortion, making it significantly more effective as a tool of eugenics. Whereas Sanger believed that birth control could prevent ‘unfit’ people from reproducing, abortion can prevent them from being born in the first place.”
Thomas was defending Indiana’s ban on abortions carried out due to the race, sex, or disability of the child to be killed. “Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement,” Thomas warned. “In other contexts, the Court has been zealous in vindicating the rights of people even potentially subjected to race, sex, and disability discrimination.”
Yet the abortion movement has rather shamelessly targeted black women for the killing of their babies. In 2018, billboards in Cleveland and Dallas have targeted black women with pro-abortion messages. Last May, State Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-La.) told PJ Media that the abortion movement’s targeting of black women is a form of genocide.
“It’s modern-day genocide for African Americans,” she said. “More African American babies are killed in the womb each year than by any other cause. There’s no other way to look at it. At the close of 2019, more African American babies will die at the hands of abortionists than any other disease, sickness, or violence combined. How do you not define it to be genocide?”
The transgender movement also echoes eugenics in terrifying ways. Many gender dysphoric people trace their gender confusion back to some form of child abuse. Good therapy would probe beneath the surface and lead them to resolve the underlying damage, but the medical establishment has rushed to the conclusion that the only solution for gender confusion is societal acceptance and body modification.
Ultimately, a biological male cannot become a biological female or vice versa. No matter how many hormones and surgeries a man has, his DNA will still be male, and his development from the womb onward will bare the signs of masculinity.
As Dr. Michelle Cretella, a pediatrician and executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, put it, “See, if you want to cut off a leg or an arm, you’re mentally ill, but if you want to cut off healthy breasts or a pen*s, you’re transgender.”
Yet the promotion of this form of “treatment” has left people scarred for life — and in many cases, permanently sterilized.
“Now that I’m all healed from the surgeries, I regret them,” a 19-year-old man who had himself surgically mutilated to affirm a female identity, wrote in a letter. “The result of the bottom surgery looks like a Frankenstein hack job at best, and that got me thinking critically about myself. I had turned myself into a plastic-surgery facsimile of a woman, but I knew I still wasn’t one. I became (and to an extent, still feel) deeply depressed.”
Transgender activist Jazz Jennings experienced complications during the surgery to remove his male genitals, leaving him with scars across the top of his legs.
Even those who stopped shy of the genital mutilation have found themselves permanently scarred.
“I am a real, live 22-year-old woman, with a scarred chest and a broken voice, and five o’clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman, that’s my reality,” admitted Cari Stella.
The medical establishment has rushed to affirm transgender “health care” that often involves giving healthy people a disease or urging genital mutilation on perfectly healthy men and women.
After the case of the 6-year-old boy James Younger seized national attention, states across the nation are expected to pass laws protecting children from the damaging effects of transgender drugs. Yet for many, it is already too late.
Charlotte Evans, a woman who formerly identified as a man and is now leading a network of detransitioners in Britain, noted that young people, women, lesbians, and autistic people are most likely to victimize themselves in this way.
“I think some of the common characteristics are that they tend to be around their mid-20s, they’re mostly female and mostly same-sex attracted, and often autistic as well,” Evans said. She warned that gender confusion usually resolves when a person’s brain is fully formed around age 25 — and that hormones and surgery can damage that brain development.
The doctors pushing transgender “treatments” likely do so with the best of intentions. The suicide rate among transgender people is very high, so many believe that transition will save vulnerable people. In reality, however, the suicide rate remains high even among those who transition — even in societies like Sweden that are very welcoming of transgender people.
Echoing eugenics, the transgender movement results in the sterilization of people with a disability — in this case, autism — and damages people who do not realize they are victims.
Neither abortion advocates nor transgender activists push sterilization or the death of babies in order to impact the gene pool, but their movements echo the evils of the eugenics movement and victimize the same kind of people — those Progressive Era pseudoscientists would say are “unfit” to have children.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.