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German Sterilisation Laws

    Naturevolume 134page767 (1934) | Download Citation



    RECENT German legislation on eugenic sterilisation is described by Dr. Aubrey Lewis in the Eugenics Review (Oct. 1934, p. 183), especially as regards the ordinances issued by the Ministers for Home Affairs and for Justice, and the semi-official commentary of Riidin, Gutt and Ruttke. Voluntary sterilisation is precluded except for the diseases for which sterilisa tion is compulsory, and carriers of a hereditary disease may not be sterilised voluntarily. If an appeal is lodged against a sterilisation order, the patient must be detained until his case is disposed of. The physician must report every relevant case encountered in his professional work, but all informa tion collected by the Psychiatric Research Institute is strictly confidential. Overcrowding of the mental hospitals is resulting from the administrative delays. The total population of mental institutions in Ger many is reckoned at 160,000, of which 36,000 will probably undergo sterilisation. However, Roemer, an influential psychiatrist, estimates that 400,000 people in Germany are envisaged for sterilisation, 360,000 of which are psychiatric cases. In the same journal (p. 211) Dr. F. Tietze gives an account of the Austrian sterilisation trial at Graz, in which the supreme court reversed the decision of the provincial court and condemned the defendants to imprison ment for practising or advocating eugenic sterilisa tion, on the ground that the consent of the individual did not exclude ‘hostile intention’ or change the character of a sterilising operation.

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