The Point: Eugenics in a Tennessee Jail

Today, I’m agreeing with the ACLU. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Jail inmates in White County, Tennessee can receive 30 days credit toward their jail time, not for “good behavior,” but for agreeing to undergo a birth control procedure.

The 38 men who’ve joined the program so far will be given a free vasectomy plus 30 days off their sentence.  The 32 women in the program received a free contraception implant which prevents pregnancy for four years.

The ACLU is calling the program, was signed into practice by Judge Sam Benningfield, unconstitutional. But Benningfield says the program will break the vicious cycle of repeat offenders by “not burdening them with children.”

The ACLU is right, but this program is not only unconstitutional, it’s unconscionable. It’s eugenics, and an early advocate of a proposal like this was Margaret Sanger, who not only wanted to keep criminals from reproducing, but also the poor and African Americans.

Shame on you Judge Benningfield. This type of program is just as awful today as it’s always been.

Resources

White County Inmates Given Reduced Jail Time If They Get Vasectomy
  • Chris Conte | NewsChannel5.com | July 19, 2017

July 25, 2017

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  • gladys1071

    i actually agree with this, why should criminals be allowed to reproduce and burden society further with their progeny that will most likely also become criminals fill up jails and or commit crimes and harm others?

    I mean these people agreed to the sterilization, they were not forced to be sterilized. I think this is great!

    We need to stop looking at this with a pro-natalist ideology, reproducing just to reproduce helps no one and in some ways can be harmful.

    • Daniel S

      I see where you are coming from, but I would disagree. The main question is are children a burden on society, or a blessing? How you answer that determines how you see this judge’s ruling in my state of Tennessee.

      • gladys1071

        It depends, some children are a blessing, some are not, depends on too many variables. Children born to addicts, convicts, irresponsible parents ARE NOT blessing, but a burden on society (of course their are exceptions), but those are few and far between.

        We need to stop seeing everything with a pro-natalist ideology.

        • Robbie Vedrenne

          This is a contemptible moral case. It is self-righteous and dangerous. Who gets to decide who is worthy? What qualifies for sterilization? What if it was forced, would you still be for it? The moral underpinnings for this evil is not new. Eventually this logic will be used to kill any who the state and its pragmatic champions like yourself, deem unworthy of life. This whole cabal is a departure from what was once the prevailing view, that life was sacred. In this we are all just mere cattle. There is no transcendent and immutable value. We are but organisms, nothing more, nothing less. Pitiful.

          • gladys1071

            i disagree, i think that this is great, why should criminals or people that harm society by commiting crimes, reproduce? the likelihood of their progeny being criminals is great, How would you like it if you or a loved one of yours was a victim of a crime, do you think we need more criminals in our society, more people that are a burden/harm to society?

      • Phoenix1977

        If you take a look at the children in the foster care system it’s hard to conclude they are anything but a burden. Most of them come from extremely unstable situations, often with alcohol abuse and drugs involved. Virtually all have been damaged and more than a few have criminal records of their own.
        And it’s all very understandable. Not too long ago I had a teenager in my ER who got injured during a chase by the police that ended in his arrest. And the first thing my nurse tells me is I should go easy on the poor kid because he had been through so much. And she’s not soft or anything. But when I got into the examination room I saw a teenager with far too much street wisdom in his eyes and a very well tuned radar who was susceptible for his sob stories and who was not. He read me very well, concluding I was not, so with me he started playing Mr. tough guy. How he almost got away from the police if not for that stupid dog and how he would sue the owner of that dog (who, accidentally, he tried to rob in the process). And then I met his case worker. Great and caring woman and completely wrong for this guy’s case. He had her wrapped around his finger and she didn’t even realize it. But this was something she couldn’t save him from. Had been in “The System” since he was 5 years old (he was 16 or 17 at that time) and had been in 23 different foster families. But everywhere he went things started to go wrong: stuff went missing, fights, alcohol, etc. And the same happened to this kid’s parents who met in mandatory rehab after being arrested.

        So yes, when we look at the available studies we see a very high chance of children of criminals ending up as criminals, just as we see children of addicts ending up with one addiction or the other. It’s still unclear if it’s nature (genetics or other born-in traits, although we know that is the case in breeding animals) or nurture (exposing to these unwanted elements) but whatever it is, it ends up preparing the next generation for a life of (petty) crime and jail time. So these children, who have virtually no chance in their lives, ARE a burden to society. And the few that might escape that fate do not outweigh the many, many more than follow exactly in their parents’ footsteps.

        • Gina Dalfonzo

          Phoenix, you’re talking about people like my sister, who came out of an extremely unstable situation and several years of foster care, bringing with her a great deal of emotional baggage. You may consider her and others like her a burden, but I consider that dehumanizing to someone I love very much.

          • Phoenix1977

            I can imagine you feel that way, Gina. I think you would agree with me that’s more emotion talking than rational thinking. And I’m not saying we should euthanize children in foster care or anything. But if some inmates can be persuaded, our of their free will, to prevent children to be born who simply have no future in our world I see no problem with that. And I doubt a 30 days cut from their sentence is that much of an offer to call it a bribe, either, before someone uses that as an argument against.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            No, I would not agree with you on that.

        • gladys1071

          Very well said. that was my point exactly,

  • Sam Benito

    The more troubling thing here is that birth control implants, like Nexplanon, the one mentioned in the article, release progestin. Progestin is a hormone that can prevent fertilization by thickening cervical mucous and by interfering with ovulation. But progestin also thins the lining of the uterus [Source: drugs.com]. That means if fertilization occurs, the child may not be able to attach to the thinned uterus, and will die.

    The point I’m making is that what makes this program infinitely more unconscionable is that it further normalizes abortion, the wanton taking of innocent human life.

    • gladys1071

      This article is not promoting abortion, it is about inmates agreeing to birth control and sterilization. You are reading into this article abortion, which is not mentioned.

      • Sam Benito

        You’re missing my point. I know “the article is not promoting abortion” and that abortion is not mentioned in it. My point is that the jail program is promoting abortion with abortifacient implants, and that it’s unfortunate the article and commentary doesn’t mention this infinitely more troubling aspect of the program.

        • gladys1071

          You have bought into the lie that the implant contracetive prevents implantation. That is just pro-life propaganda. It prevents ovulation, hence no conception occurs.

          • Sam Benito

            How is it a “lie” and “pro-life propaganda” when even the drug manufacturers acknowledge it?

            Re Nexplanon, drugs.com states that per the manufacturer it, “changes the lining of your uterus.”

            Re Implanon, WedMD states that per the manufacturer it “changes the lining of the uterus (womb) to prevent attachment of a fertilized egg.”

          • gladys1071

            yes so what? its primary mechanism is preventing ovulation, plenty women get pregnant on the pill/implant which means in those cases the pill/implant has failed. Even if a fertilized egg were to fail to implant, it happens to plenty of women without taking any hormonal contraception, just in normal menstrual cycle.

            Your concern for fertilized eggs is ridiculous, better to prevent implantation, then an abortion at later stages don’t you think?

          • Sam Benito

            There’s a big difference between a “normal” (i.e., natural) failure to implant, and taking deliberate measures to make it happen. Kind of like the difference between someone dying in a random car accident versus sabotaging his brakes to increase the probability.

            You say, “better to prevent implantation, then an abortion at later stages don’t you think?” No, I don’t. Because whereas killing someone while they’re asleep may be “better” for them than doing it while they’re awake, it’s still murder no matter how or when you do it.

          • gladys1071

            Better to flush a fertilized egg than for the progeny of convicts/ criminals to be born and be a scourge on society and cause suffering to already born people.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            “Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust.”

            (Charles Dickens is really good on these questions.)

          • gladys1071

            I think the idea of quality of life seems to escapes you. Have you seen a child die of starvation, a drug addicted baby crying, convulsing? How many young people were murdered in Chicago this weekend?

            Hey but who cares right as long every fertilized egg gets implanted. We seem to have a shortage of people in this world we are going extinct!

          • Zarm

            Unless you are advocating eugencis, then it’s a simple matter of principle; if a human life exists, that human being deserves not to be arbitrarily killed. it doesn’t matter who thinks the world will be better off without them, or that the circumstances of their birth limit their potential; the point is that no of those objections justifies *killing someone.* That’s not a ‘pro-natalist agenda,’ that’s a basic stance against killing human beings. If, in any situation, you believe that an innocent human being is present, advocating their death is inherently immoral. Its a matter of consistency with principle that one would stand against the unwarranted murder of human beings in any and all situations where it may occur; the only difference here is that others see human life where you do not.

          • gladys1071

            I understand what you are saying, but this article is talking about birth control and preventing more children being born to people that are convicts/criminals, which i believe differently than you about. I actually believe it is good for society to discourage certain people from reproducing, and bringing more children into this world to suffer or cause suffering to others.

          • gladys1071

            i have a question for you, why so concerned with a fertilized egg failing to implant? , why does EACH fertilized egg have to implant or have to be gestated, tell me what is the tragedy in a fertilized egg being ejected out of the uterus?

            This pro-natalist worldview is really puzzling to me, the degree of obsession for fertilized eggs is so astounding to me with all of the suffering and ugliness in this world and so many more important problems out there with thinking feeling SENTIENT people suffering, and YOU focus on “fertilized eggs”

            such a myopic point of view, how sad.

          • Sam Benito

            You ask, “why so concerned with a fertilized egg failing to implant?” Because a “fertilized egg” is a human being at the earliest stage of his/her existence. It’s wrong to take innocent life at any stage.

          • gladys1071

            That is YOUR opinion that flushing out a fertilzed egg is the equivalent of murder. Not everyone shares your opinion.

          • Phoenix1977

            Sorry, Gladys, but Sam is right. Progestin does indeed reduce the uterine mucosa preventing a fertilized egg to nest itself. However, that is not considered abortion by the medical community but simply birth control.

  • Zarm

    This assumes that children are a burden, that the responsibility of raising them contributes to crime rather than giving a compelling reason not to commit it, that it has negative rather than positive effects on character, that there is a positive contribution to society in lowering the birth rate, and that government has ANY business promoting a raising or lowering of the birth rate, AND allowing that sphere of effect a crossover with the criminal justice system.

    All of which are unfounded assumptions.

    • gladys1071

      Children ARE a burden when they are not raised by responsible parents and or parents with criminal records, such children are NOT an asset to society but a liability. Not many positive outcomes to children born to criminals and or parents in prison.

    • Phoenix1977

      Children ARE a burden when unwanted, yes. And I can’t imagine the average criminal wanting to have a home filled with kids while keeping going back and forth to prison …

  • Carla James

    This is some Francis Crick type madness. This is Eugenics, by another name and population control.