Though past generations often justified state-coerced sterilization on such grounds as “purifying the gene pool,” today’s sterilization supporters would no doubt cite “public safety” as their rationale. Parents who consistently put their children in danger should be prevented from having more children; it’s that simple, they say. And by citing tragic and sometimes disturbing infanticide cases, they do not often find themselves lacking support.
But even as a public safety measure, sterilization represents the state at its most appalling. The government – any government – mandating permanent bodily harm upon those accused of crimes is the stuff of dystopian science fiction. Under the guise of preventing future child abuse, state sterilization is passed off as proactive criminal justice. In reality, it is nothing more than “precrime,” straight out of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report. It is also a clear violation of due process, regardless of what the men in black robes declare.
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