China’s modern genocide

Jul 4, 2020 by

by Sarah Ditum, UnHerd:

There’s nothing new about the eugenics being practised in the Uighur “re-education” camps.

In 2015, the British Court of Protection ruled that a 36-year-old woman with a learning disability could be sterilised against her will. It’s a judgement worth reading in full for several reasons, not least the care with which Mr. Justice Cobb weighs the details of the case. The woman, referred to as DD, had already had six children (all of whom had been taken into care), and any further pregnancy would probably kill her — something that DD’s limited capacity seemed to prevent her from understanding.

It was because of the threat to life, and not for any other reason, that the Judge solemnly authorised the procedure. “This case is not about eugenics,” he emphasised. And even so, even though the details of the case make it very clear that leaving DD to conceive again would do nothing good for her, and that no other course but sterilisation could work, it feels like a terrible conclusion to have reached. A letter from DD is quoted, and her words hang heavily over the proceedings. “My body is mine,” she says, “by human rights.”

My body is mine, by human rights. It seems like the most basic principle, and one which could only be breached in circumstances as extreme as those of DD. But of course, for much of history and in many places, it’s been breached with casual utilitarianism: the reason Mr Justice Cobb had to say his judgement wasn’t about eugenics is that there have been thousands of women like DD whose fertility was stolen from them only on the grounds of improving the gene pool. For as long as contraception has existed, people have been using it to stop the wrong people from breeding.

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