Duquesne Law Review


Compulsory sterilization on non-criminal grounds is provided for by statute in twenty-six states. In a questionable exercise of the police power, these states have attempted to prevent the procreation of children by persons with certain enumerated mental disorders or by persons who are not considered capable of properly caring for them for one reason or another. In most states there is a two-stage determination of applicability of the statute. Initially the individual is examined to determine if he is afflicted with one of the enumerated mental disorders: a pre-requisite to inquiry into the advisability of sterilization. These disorders include the various degrees of mental deficiency, mental illness, epilepsy and other novel classifications like "moral degenerates."

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