It’s the anniversary of the infamous Buck vs. Bell Supreme Court decision; unfortunately, not many people know what the decision was even about much less how it continues to affect the world to this day. Following is an overview of this momentous decision and how it continues to impact society even though most people agree that the Supreme Court absolutely got it wrong.
It is important to understand Carrie Buck’s background in order to grasp the momentous Buck vs. Bell decision. Carrie Buck, the plaintiff in the case, was born into a poor family in 1906. Her father abandoned the family shortly after her birth and her mother was later committed to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded on charges of immorality.
Carrie was placed with a foster family where she was sent to school but only earned average grades. She was raped by her foster parent’s nephew when she was 17 and subsequently sent to the same place as her mother after being declared feebleminded and mentally incompetent. It was there that she was sterilized against her will. Her half-sister, who was not even in the same institution, was later sterilized without her consent after an operation on her appendix.
Unfortunately, Carrie Buck’s case did not stand a chance in the Supreme Court. The American elite at the time believed that eugenics was the best and even only way to maintain a successful, healthy population. Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Supreme Court justice that wrote up the decision, was an avid fan of eugenics and even advocated that it be used more widely than it was at the present time.
Manufactured evidence and faulty scientific logic were allowed in the case, leading eight out of nine justices to eventually agreed with Justice Holmes’ ascertain that Carrie Buck was an imbecile who did not deserve the right to decide how many children she could have.
In following decades, it has become clear that the premise is based on a number of falsehoods. Carrie Buck was in fact no less intelligent than the average person. There is no scientific evidence that Carrie’s mother was feebleminded and school records for Carrie’s daughter show that the little girl was of average intelligence.
Scientific evidence in later years made it clear that human intelligence is not based on the conditions of one’s birth, the intelligence level and/or behavior of one’s parents, skin color or other such factors. Eugenics was rejected wholesale in later years after the world saw how the Nazis used it as an excuse to murder millions of innocent men, women and children.
Unfortunately, eugenics did not entirely disappear. The Buck vs. Bell ruling was referred to in a 2001 ruling by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals which declared the ruling made it clear that “involuntary sterilization is not always unconstitutional.” Californian prisons have sterilized up to 150 inmates from 2006 to 2010 and a judge in another state offered reduced sentences to prisoners who either went in for a vasectomy or received contraceptive implants.
Eugenics is also alive and well in the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was an avid proponent and eugenics and her push to offer contraceptives and abortions to African Americans and the poor came from her passion to see these people slowly but surely exterminated in order to create a world free from “undesirables”.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the Buck vs. Bell decision is that it was never overturned, which means that technically it is still the law of the land. The government gave itself the power to decide who could have children and who could not back in 1927 and has refused to relinquish that power since then.
As is clear from the 2001 ruling justifying involuntary sterilization, many of those in power still see some people as being “undesirables” who should not be allowed to have the same rights as other people who are considered to be more “useful to society”.
To make matters worse, Oliver Wendell Holmes used the ruling to not only promote involuntary sterilization but also compulsory vaccination, giving the government ample leeway to make all sorts of medical decisions of behalf of anyone that it doesn’t like. Having such a law on the books is entirely unacceptable for a developed nation in the twenty-first century.
Those who appreciate the freedom to make medical decisions without government intervention should bear in mind that this freedom is not “set in stone” and can be taken away by a future government or judiciary for the flimsiest of reasons.
~ Christian Patriot Daily