Frederick Osborn: “birth control and abortion are turning out to be great eugenic advances”

In March 1973, two months after Roe was handed down, Frederick Osborn, a former head of the American Eugenics Society and the president of the Rockefeller funded Population Council, changed its name to the “Society for the Study of Social Biology.” The announcement said: “The change of name of the Society does not coincide with any change of its interests or policies.”  Indeed, already in 1968 they had changed the name of their journal, Eugenics Journal, to Social Biology… which, by the way, still exists, and is housed at Duke University.

Osborn explained the reason for the new name of the journal:

“The name was changed because it became evident that changes of a eugenic nature would be made for reasons other than eugenics, and that tying a eugenic label on them would more often hinder than help their adoption. Birth control and abortion are turning out to be great eugenic advances of our time. If they had been advanced for eugenic reasons it would have retarded or stopped their acceptance.”

[Source:  Diane B. Paul in The Politics of Heredity, 1998.  See also.  Paul’s reference:  Frederick Osborn, Transcript, Oral History Interview (July 10, 1974), Columbia University, New York, p. 7. ]

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