Sterilization

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Related to hysteroscopic sterilization: Tubal sterilization

Sterilization

A medical procedure where the reproductive organs are removed or rendered ineffective.

Legally mandated sterilization of criminals, or other members of society deemed "socially undesirable," has for some time been considered a stain on the history of U.S. law. The practice, also known as eugenics, originated early in the twentieth century. In 1914, a Model Eugenical Sterilization Law was published by Harry Laughlin at the Eugenics Records Office. Laughlin proposed the sterilization of "socially inadequate" persons, which translated as anyone "maintained wholly or in part by public expense." This would include the "feebleminded, insane, blind, deaf, orphans, and the homeless." At the time the model law was published, 12 states had enacted sterilization laws. Such laws were seen to benefit society since they presumably reduced the burden on taxpayers of maintaining state-run facilities. Eventually, these laws were challenged in court.

In Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927), oliver wendell holmes jr. wrote the infamous opinion that upheld the constitutionality of a Virginia sterilization law, fueling subsequent legislative efforts to enact additional sterilization laws. By 1930, 30 states and Puerto Rico had passed laws mandating sterilization for many criminal or moral offenses. Nearly all of the states with such laws imposed mandatory sterilization of mentally defective citizens. Nineteen states required sterilization for parents of children likely to experience various disorders. Six states encouraged sterilization for individuals whose children might be "socially inadequate."

Finally, the Supreme Court struck down an Oklahoma law mandating involuntary sterilization for repeat criminals in Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 62 S. Ct. 1110, 86 L. Ed. 1655 (1942). Justice william o. douglas's opinion broadly defined the right to privacy to include the right to procreate, and concluded that the government's power to sterilize interfered with an individual's basic liberties.

By mid-century, legal attitudes had changed, and many state sterilization laws were held to be unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment prohibiting Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

Further readings

Carlson, Elof Axel. 2001. The Unfit: A History of a Bad Idea. Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Kevles, Daniel J. 1985. In the Name of Eugenics. New York: Knopf.

Smith, J. David, and K. Ray Nelson. 1999. The Sterilization of Carrie Buck. Far Hills, N.J.: New Horizon Press.

References in periodicals archive ?
Current techniques and outcomes in hysteroscopic sterilization: current evidence, considerations, and complications with hysteroscopic sterilization micro inserts.
Women who underwent hysteroscopic sterilization had a slightly lower use of analgesics, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines at 1 year that was more pronounced by 3 years.
"Essure and other hysteroscopic sterilization methodologies are quickly becoming a standard option for patients seeking permanent sterilization and probably will become the norm, by my prediction, in 2 or 3 years," Dr.
Glazerman studied the medical charts of 130 consecutive patients who underwent Essure hysteroscopic sterilization in his former private ob.gyn.
The average ob.gyn., in fact, will be competent with the basic hysteroscopic technique for diagnosis after just two to five cases, and the skills honed by doing office diagnostic hysteroscopy will often lay the foundation for adding operative procedures for which there is growing demand, such as hysteroscopic sterilization and global endometrial ablation.
How does hysteroscopic sterilization compare with the laparoscopic approach?
CHICAGO -- A short course of oral contraceptives prior to hysteroscopic sterilization can make it easier to place the device, Dr.
If she opts for hysteroscopic sterilization prior to endometrial ablation, the sterilization procedure must be performed at least 3 months prior to ablation (according to FDA labeling) so that tubal occlusion can be demonstrated by hysterosalpingography (HSG) before the uterine cavity is scarred.
How hysteroscopic sterilization gained widespread adoption
CHICAGO -- Data indicate that most pregnancies in women who undergo the Essure hysteroscopic sterilization procedure could be avoided, Dr.
The major advantage of hysteroscopic sterilization is the avoidance of entry into the peritoneal cavity, which has its inherent risks and morbidity.
CHICAGO -- Pregnancy with in vitro fertilization is possible in women who have previously undergone Essure hysteroscopic sterilization, Dr.