Popenoe: The German Sterilization Law 259
steps have been completed. The administrative officials designate the hospitals and the physicians for the performance of the operation. The operation can not be done by a physician who proposed it, or who took part in the legal procedure.
(2) The operator has to give the official physician a written report on the sterilization, with details of the method followed.
(1) If the Court has given final decision for sterilization, the operation is to be performed even against the will of the person concerned, unless the latter alone voluntarily made the proposal. The Commission may obtain necessary assistance from the Police Officials. If other measures do not suffice, the use of force is permitted.
(2) If circumstances seem to require a new investigation of the situation, the Eugenics Court shall reopen the procedure, and in the meantime forbid the operation. If a proposal of sterilization has been denied, it can be filed again only if new evidence is submitted.
(1) The costs of the legal proceedings are borne by the State Treasury. The costs of the surgical operation are borne by the Sickness Insurance Fund in case the person concerned is insured, for other indigent persons by the budget for public charity. In all other cases, the cost up to the minimum of the medical fee list, and the average charge for care in public hospitals, is borne by the Sate Treasury, any cost above that by the person sterilized.
A sterilization not performed according to this law, as well as a removal of the reproductive glands, is only permissible when a physician removes the glands according to the rules of medical science to lessen serious danger to the life or health of the person operated upon, and with the permission of the latter.
(1) All persons taking part in the legal steps or the surgical operation are bound to secrecy.
(2) Anyone who illegally transgresses the obligation of silence, shall be punished by imprisonment up to one year, or a fine. Prosecution can only ensue on a complaint. The complaint may be made by the presiding officer.
(1) It is the duty of the State Government to enforce the provisions of this law.
(2) The Supreme Authority of the State determines the seat and district of the deciding court in accordance with the provisions of Section 6, No. 1, sentence 1, and Section 10, No. 1, sentence 1. It names the members of the Commission and their alternates.
The Minister of the Interior, in agreement with the Minister of Justice, issues the necessary regulations and rules of procedure for the administration of this law.
This law goes into effect January 1, 1934.
The administration of this law is being carried out in the light of the regulations and forms officially prepared, together with full and explicit data to guide the courts in deciding who is to be declared hereditarily handicapped. All this material fills a substantial volume.*
Progress in setting up this machinery has been slow, calling forth a number of complaints and admonitions from the administration; but in this delay is evidence that the government is doing its best to set up the necessary 1,700 tribunals carefully and to avoid serious mistakes. While the German law is well drawn and, in form, may be considered better than the sterilization laws of most American states, the success of any such measure naturally depends on conservative, sympathetic, and intelligent administration. Apparently the Nazis are doing their best to prevent criticism on this score, no doubt with the realization that their actions are regarded with suspicion in many quarters.
Newspaper accounts have generally said that 400,000 people are to be sterilized under this law. The statement appears to be unfounded. What German authorities have said is that about 400,000 people would be examined, to determine whether they should be sterilized. This number of course includes the inmates of all hospitals for the mentally diseased,
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*G[umlaut over 'u']tt, Arthur, R[umlaut over 'u']din, Ernst, and Ruttke, Falk. [italics]Gesetz zur Verh[umlaut over 'u']tung erbkranken Nachwuchs von 14 Juli, mit Ausf[umlaut over 'u']hrungsverordnung, Erl[umlaut over 'a']uterungen, etc.[end italics] Pp. 272. Munich, J. F. Lemann's Verlag, 1934.