Sterilization May Lead to Sexual Promiscuity, Frank C. Richmond, 1934

Frank C. Richmond, Sterilization in Wisconsin, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 25, Issue 4 (November-December), Winter, 1934.  Page: 593.

Human surgical sterilization may lead to sexual promiscuity and incidentally to spread of venereal disease. Voluntary sterilization tends to promote social evils in this way and answers why sterilization should be practiced only on individuals who remain under indeterminate jurisdiction of law whereby proper supervision can be exercised. That voluntary sterilization promotes sex immorality is well supported by the following statement: “I know the case of a young bachelor, somewhat of a roue, who had himself vasectomized in order to increase his popularity with the young girls. And it did. The absolute assurance that he could give them that nothing could ever ‘happen’ to them was a powerful argument.”[2]

However, to the taxpayer perplexed and burdened by the social problem indicated below, compulsory human sterilization does not appear insuperably objectionable. Here is the problem:

A husband and wife, convicted of killing their infant, were spared from the electric chair for life imprisonment by the Governor who said they obviously are mentally deficient. The state now will have the care of this pair the remainder of their lives. It would be a rare phenomenon if the progeny of two mentally deficient parents were not likewise deficient. Yet in every state there are hundreds such in the pauper class free to bear children of whom a large percentage are certain to have criminal tendencies, murderous proclivities or vicious social traits. The public  expense and private property loss they cause is beyond computation, and their presence at large is a menace that grows with the spreading branches of their family tree.

What’s to be done? “Well”, says Mr. John Average Public, “why not try a safe and sane compulsory human sterilization law conservatively administered as in Wisconsin?”


1. Sterilization alone is not a substitute for segregation.
2. Favorable results appertaining to sterilization of mentally deficient class warrant its continued practice.
3. Favorable results appertaining to sterilization of insane persons are negligible.
4. Epilepsy per se is not sufficient cause for sterilization.
5. Sterilization is not applicable to criminals as such.
6. Sterilization of the criminal mentally deficient class should be extended.
7. Sterilized persons should be permitted to marry.

[2] “Practical Prevenception or the Technique of Birth Control” by William J. Robinson, Ph.G., M.D., page 63.


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