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MEDICOLEGAL ASPECTS OF STERILIZATION, ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION, AND ABORTION

Edwin J. Holman, LL.B.
JAMA. 1954;156(14):1309-1311. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950140009003.
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Medicolegally speaking, operations to produce sterility may be contemplated or performed for one of three reasons: eugenic, therapeutic, or nontherapeutic. What civil or criminal liability is incurred by the physician who, for one of these three reasons, performs such an operation? Twenty-nine states1 have enacted legislation that provides for the sterilization of the socially inadequate. This legislation is a study in itself2 and cannot briefly be summarized. Generally it may be said, however, that it designates the classes of persons to which it applies, persons who for practical purposes may be included in one of five groups: feeble-minded, insane, epileptic, habitual criminals, or moral degenerates. This legislation, in the main, applies to those portions of the enumerated classes of defective persons that are confined in specified institutions. Consent and due process of law are aspects of this legislation that should be considered locally according to the law of

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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