Response Paper 4: “Buck v. Bell (1927)” by Nathalie Antonios and Christina Raup (Embryo Project Encyclopedia)
Read the case summary and address the following questions:
1. What 2 principles are in conflict in this case? Support your answer.
2. What are some red flags you see in how the trial came about and the persons involved?
3. Do you think forced sterilization of those deemed genetically inferior is an appropriate way to deal with the disease?
Questions to consider:
1. How much do you think the decision to treat Carrie as “feebleminded” was based on a moral evaluation of her unwed pregnancy (and her mother’s moral background)? Do you think this raises questions about the other 60,000 institutionalized patients who were sterilized between 1927 and 1974?
2. The court argued that forced sterilization as necessary for the public good was similar to forced vaccination. Do you think that argument is successful? In what ways are forced sterilization and forced vaccination analogous and disanalogous?
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