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Forced contraception

Forced contraception has been suggested as a legal means to address certain social problems, specifically to prevent women convicted of child abuse or drug abuse from having more children. The technical means to achieve this end are currently available without recourse to the more intrusive and permanent process of sterilization, which has been used in the past. Norplant is the name of the device that can be implanted in the arm and that can prevent pregnancy. The issue has engendered considerable argument, with opponents seeing this as an unnecessary and unwarranted government invasion or as the precursor to an even more widespread use of this method for preventing different groups of people from having children--those on welfare, for instance, or people convicted of crime having nothing to do with children. Proponents see this as a necessary step to protect children and to assure that society will not have to care for the children of drug abusers and child molesters. Forced sterilization is in fact a necessary step society has to take to protect children and to control those who have proven that they cannot control themselves.

In Skinner v. Oklahoma, decided in 1942, the Supreme Court outlawed governmentimposed involuntary sterilization or sterilization without informed consent, stating that it violated the constitutional right to procreate (316 U.S. 535 [1942]). There have been a number of Supreme Court decisions declaring contraception and abortion to be constitutionally protected, and these decisions have been interpreted to show that there is a constitutional right to voluntary contraceptive sterilization. Forced sterilization is a different matter.

Robertson (1995) points out that the development of Norplant has brought this argument to the forefront given that the device makes it possible for the state to eliminate what it may see as irresponsible reproduction. This is a controversial trend, and people have re...

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Forced contraception. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:50, May 22, 2019, from