ID# 304:
Opthamologists responses to survey seeking support for hereditary blindness law
Pages: (1|2|3|4|5|6|7)
American Philosophical Society, ERO, MSC77,SerX,Box3: Harry H. Laughlin

Opthamologists responses to survey seeking support for hereditary blindness law

Dr. John R. Forst Office Hours by Appointment Germantown [illegible] W. Coulter Street Hours 8 to 10 A.M. Philadelphia, Pa. 124 South 15th Street Hours, 11 to 1 January 17 1921. Mr. H. H. Laughlin, Supt., Eugenics Record Office, Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Dear Sir: My response to your letter of Jan 8 is as follows: 1 The present mania for controlling personal action by law is increasing the ways of evading such laws and developing a dangerous contempt for all law and authority of the government. It is striking at the foundations of our form of government which were founded upon the English experience which was concerned with getting more personal liberty. You will reduce hereditary blindness little or none. If the individuals are forbidden to marry they will cohabit in defiance of your law and you will have the double problem of the so-called illegitimate child with all the defects of its parents, who because of our customs will be compelled to disown it and throw it on the State. 2. Absolutely not. 3. I am entirely against any such law. The only change I would [crossed out] suggest would be to not present to any American Legislature. 4. Education. You will keep your individual in complete respect and adherence to his government. The horror of a certain blind child to be cared for will keep him from marrying more than your law will - because then he will understand why. With your proposed law he will never understand and will always be in revolt or pursuing "criminal" methods to obtain what he wants. Make haste slowly. Your object is good but your method is hopeless and I will never be a party to forbidding anyone to marry under any law of this country. Nor will I ever expose them. I will advise them against it if in my judgment it is unwise. Further than that I refuse to go. May I in conclusion and in deep sincerity implore the Committee not to proceed with this law. Your only excuse appears to be that you will save the tax payer some money. You permit him to drag into the courts a couple of individuals who have only a short span on this earth and who feel they can live it out in happiness with each other. What you save is nothing to the tax payer but you doom one or two individuals to eternal unhappiness. You will not stop Hereditary blindness. It is always being made somewhere else. Education and time will do more than your law. Give them a chance. Make haste slowly. Very truly yours, (signed)

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