Eugenic indication for abortion--a historical background
Institutt for filosofi, Postboks 1020 Blindern,
Universitetet i Oslo, 0315 Oslo.
Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2005 Dec 15;125(24):3472-6.
ABSTRACTBACKGROUND: Modern discussions on fetal diagnostics and abortion frequently leave the impression that the eugenic clause in the Norwegian abortion act is a heritage from the eugenics movement in the 1930s. However, although much has been written on this, few have systematically pursued the historical development of the eugenic clause. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The article describes the development of Norwegian abortion legislation in general, and the eugenic clause in particular, from the discussions in the 1930s, through the Nazi abortion law during the German occupation (which is relatively unknown in the historiographic literature), and to the legislation that was finally passed after the war. The sources are primarily official documents (committee reports, drafts for legislation, debates in parliament) as well as discussions in the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association. Various proposals are discussed according to two criteria: a) the role hereditary arguments played in the formulation of a eugenic clause; and b) the extent to which such a clause is justified by social, as opposed to individual, concerns. RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION: Although social concerns every now and then figure in justifications for the eugenic clause, the lack of eugenic argumentation in Norwegian abortion debates until 1960 is striking. There are traces of a clear eugenic or racial hygienic approach in the 1930s, but this thinking was left dead by the abortion act instituted by the Nazi regime.Eugenics talk
Selecting potential children
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
The commercialisation of pre-natal enhancement
and further reading
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World