2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

Buying Better Babies: Eugenics of the 21st Century
Laura A. Franks
Prof. Martha L. Rose, Faculty Mentor

Historically, eugenics has been a controversial topic involving segregation, institutionalization, sterilization, and even genocide. While most people today regard the eugenic practices of the past as major social injustices, present-day varieties of human-enhancement technologies encourage classical ideals, such as aims of betterment and a cured society. Unlike practices of coercion during the 20th century, neo-eugenics claims to rely on individual choice and parental proactivity. The concept of neo-eugenics attempts to avoid the criticisms of historical eugenic practices by focusing on reproductive and genetic technologies to enhance desirable traits, e.g., hardy bodies, and minimize undesirable traits, e.g., body weakness, claiming parents have procreative liberty and moral obligation to have a healthy child. While neo-eugenics does not force individuals into utilizing reproductive technologies, it does present the risks of consumer capitalism, geneism, and aesthetic prejudice, leaving those who cannot or will not use reproductive and genetic reproductive technologies at a societal disadvantage.

Keywords: eugenics, neo-eugenics, geneism, aesthetics, reproductive technology, consumerism

Topic(s):Disability and Society

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 406-2
Location: VH 1324
Time: 2:45

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