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Eugenics Today?

While the Eugenics Movement, as historians refer to it, may be long over, many scholars have argued that eugenic values and modes of thinking still permeate our society today. As Judith Daar argues in her text The New Eugenics, reproductive technologies and medicine are systematically denied to poor people, people of color, LGBTQ people, and disabled people at higher rates than their affluent white peers. This discrepancy of access to reproductive health and justice is, as she argues, emblematic of New Eugenics. Similarly, in her text Fatal Invention, Dorothy E. Roberts argues that we are currently living in a resurgence of race science, in fields such as medicine and genetic technology, founded on an essentialist understanding of race and human ability. In this age of rapid technological growth, being aware of eugenic continuities in our society is vital.

Furthermore, prisons and state governments are still complicit in the coerced sterilization of prisoners as recently as a decade ago. Disabled people still face threats of involuntary institutionalization and reproductive restrictions. The hierarchies created by eugenicists with certain lives valued over others is still massively influential in our culture. 

On Stanford's campus, many buildings remain named after eugenicists: Burbank Hall, Wilbur Hall, Cubberley Library and Cubberley Auditorium, and Jordan Hall. If Stanford University wishes to be taken seriously as an institution capable of researching gene editing and genetic medicine, it should first address its honoring of eugenicists who would use the technology for racist and ableist goals.

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