Admittedly, the outspoken opposition to eugenic sterilization proposed by Leonida and Odobescu was not shared by prominent scientists like Marinescu; but neither was he persuaded by the arguments presented by Vasilescu-Bucium, Stroescu and Făcăoaru. The first was the translation of an article written especially for the journal by the leading supporter of eugenic sterilization, Harry Laughlin, the deputy director of the American Eugenics Record Office. But was eugenic sterilization necessary in Romania?
He thus concluded his discussion by stressing that directors of mental hospitals had a duty to persuade recovered patients of their need for sterilization, and to inform them of how disadvantaged their offspring would be. It was left to physicians and psychiatrists working in mental institutions to decide which methods of treatment were most suitable for their patients, a legal authorization that was—Cahane insisted—codified in the sanitary law of Article Laws authorizing sterilization were introduced in SwitzerlandDenmarkGermanyNorwayand Finland As a result, Romanian eugenicists began to promote their views more vigorously, particularly their commitment to sterilization.
The debate also widened. Hitherto restricted to medical specialists, eugenic sterilization now increasingly attracted other categories of professionals, especially legal experts, sociologists, and statisticians.
Written by Eugen Petit, jurist and legal adviser to the Court of Appeal in Bucharest, and Gheorghe Buzoianu, director of the Laryngological Hospital in Cluj, the book analysed eugenic sterilization from legal and medical perspectives.
The juridical analysis—offered by Petit—reviewed European and North American experiences with eugenic sterilization, devoting considerable consideration to the Nazi law of Accordingly, what was needed was a modification of the penal code whereby a sterilization law could be introduced.
But was eugenic sterilization necessary in Romania? Petit found no reason why voluntary sterilization, for example, should not be introduced, with the caveat that it be offered to individuals with hereditary diseases, and only after a commission of specialists had agreed to the procedure.
When it came to compulsory sterilization, however, Petit was decidedly against. Buzoianu—the author of the second part of the book—provided a lengthy and erudite medical discussion of various techniques of sterilization for both men and women.
The reasons are numerous, ranging from its application under the Nazi regime to its post application in the Scandinavian countries, the recent sterilization of the Roma in the Czech Republic, and China's birth planning policies. Within the economic crises and political instability that characterized the late s, eugenic sterilization attracted considerable attention from both the medical profession and social reformers interested in protecting the nation from alleged biological degeneration and social decline. Supporters of eugenic sterilization maintained that they were rendering the utmost service to society: defending future generations from social and biological degeneration.
Buzoianu was well acquainted with surgical procedures for sterilization, and offered a balanced synthesis of the latest developments in medical knowledge. Most importantly, he disseminated this to the general public in an accessible narrative, dismissing reservations and legitimate anxieties concerning the impact of sterilization on the individual's health, especially regarding sexual performance.
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This book is just one example of a series of publications devoted to eugenic sterilization characterizing the late s. Physicians still dominated the discussion, but the topic itself was no longer confined to the medical field. Leading Romanian physicians of the time perceived this as a threat to their scientific authority. Constantin Daniel, professor of gynaecology and director of gynaecological services at Colţea Hospital in Bucharest, for instance, discussed sterilization as an obstetric and gynaecological practice, without any comment on its social or national consequences.
In addition to its scientific discussion of heredity and genetics, it provides two important details about eugenic sterilization in Romania. The first refers to a questionnaire sent by the Nazi government to various countries, including Romania, both to test their commitment to eugenics and to survey the condition of their hospitals.
Some of the questions were directly related to sterilization: Do laws or legal decisions exist with respect to the prevention of hereditary diseased offspring, to the encouragement of those hereditarily healthy, and especially of those hereditarily healthy with many children? Are they eugenic, medical, social? On what type of decision is sterilization based: judicial, sanitary policy, voluntary? Is sterilization performed itinerantly [by mobile stations]?
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What methods are used? Are those sterilized kept under observation after their release? Do card indexes about sterilization exist? When was sterilization introduced, and how many individuals were sterilized by the end of ?
In addition to his support of the German sterilization law, Făcăoaru was similarly attracted to the model of national eugenics and biopolitics advocated by his mentor Iuliu Moldovan.
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Indeed, like many other eugenicists who worked with Moldovan at the Institute of Hygiene and Public Health in Cluj during the inter-war period, Făcăoaru, while not insensitive to racial arguments, refuted ideas of racial purity. Go to: Opposition to Eugenic Sterilization Towards the end of the s, discussions of eugenic sterilization were gradually forced into the realm of public debate by the increased interest in this topic of non-medical professionals.
It is, however, preferable, from all points of view, that degenerates should not be born, or, even better, not conceived.
And, this is possible with the help of science: by sterilizing those who exhibit pathological characteristics or incurable diseases. We could even say that vasectomy is the basis of the regeneration of the human species. Only a penal code based on eugenics would provide the state with the necessary instrument for social and biological reconstruction.
Ultimately, Leonida minimized the importance of heredity, stating that mental and physical illnesses were likely to cause most immediate biological damage to the individual concerned rather than influence the genetic heritage of generations to come. This scepticism about eugenic sterilization was further articulated by a psychiatrist at the Central Hospital in Bucharest, Grigore Odobescu.
Among the most important causes of degeneration, he identified poor nutrition, a total lack of hygiene and rampant contagious diseases but not, significantly, hereditary diseases.
Odobescu pursued the same arguments further in Politica eugenică Eugenic Policy.
Rather than eugenic sterilization, Odobescu offered another solution to social decline, insisting that the physical and mental health of the Romanian peasantry could be the source of national rejuvenation. In other words, Romania's rural and agrarian environment protected her from forms of urban degeneration experienced by the industrialized countries of Western Europe.
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In return, such sceptical attitudes were criticized by supporters of eugenic sterilization. Făcăoaru, for instance, deplored both Odobescu's lack of eugenic enthusiasm and Leonida's deficient knowledge of genetics and eugenics. The third section of the congress, devoted to heredity and eugenics, was presided over by the Dutch psychiatrist and eugenicist Gerrit Pieter Frets.
In our case, compulsory sterilization is the only means to prevent the continual increase of the feeble-minded, especially in isolated villages in the mountains. Voluntary sterilization proved inefficient in countries where it has been applied.
Although all participants agreed that eugenic sterilization was essential to any national programme of biological improvement, the moderate view triumphed. Despite Stroescu's and Făcăoaru's escalating rhetoric, in there was still an intense debate on which form of eugenic sterilization was justifiable or desirable.
Admittedly, the outspoken opposition to eugenic sterilization proposed by Leonida and Odobescu was not shared by prominent scientists like Marinescu; but neither was he persuaded by the arguments presented by Vasilescu-Bucium, Stroescu and Făcăoaru.
Although more pragmatic than both opponents and supporters of eugenic sterilization, Marinescu did not specify which category of individuals would be subjected to voluntary sterilization, much less the legal and medical reasons required. At about the same time, however, eugenic discourse in Romania underwent significant changes, largely under the influence of the radicalization of the political landscape.
Eugenic Sterilization as Medical Praxis
Conceptually, the discussion on eugenic sterilization was also drifting towards nationalist manipulations of ethnic aggressiveness, as ideas of national biology and racial protectionism were increasingly voiced by Romanian eugenicists. Other eugenicists, most notably Manliu and Făcăoaru, were also influenced by racial hygienic ideas, but Banu was consistent in creating a corpus of writings in which eugenics and race were deeply connected. Segregation and sterilization overlapped slightly, as both addressed the same categories of degenerates and anti-socials, namely those considered to be feeble-minded, psychopaths, epileptics, but also criminals and alcoholics.
The foundation of Banu's eugenic philosophy lay in the suggestion that hygienic values and racial improvement were closely linked. Closely associated with this eugenic quest for comprehensive solutions to social problems were debates on authoritarian projects of national renewal, especially after the territorial losses of As in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, various forms of radical biopolitics emerged in Romania that endorsed the idea of a totalitarian state as the epitome of Romanian ethnic supremacy.
And like racial hygienists elsewhere, Romanian eugenicists adopted and championed principles of ethnic re-engineering and social segregation. Although many eugenicists opposed speed dating w toruniu between Romanians and other ethnic minorities especially in the Banat and Transylvania none of them argued for the sterilization of the Jews, the Hungarians or the Germans.
His argument rested almost exclusively on a racial representation of their social and ethnic functions. Gheorghe Făcăoaru, Iordache's brother, suggested, for instance, that: Nomadic and semi-nomadic Gypsies be interned in camps.
There their clothes will be changed; they will be shaved, receive a haircut and sterilized. To cover the costs of their maintenance, they should do forced labour. We will be rid of them from the first generation. Their place will be taken by national elements, capable of disciplined and creative work. Another new piece of EU legislation the Payment Accounts Directive will bring about a high degree of price transparency in payment account services and aims to promote financial inclusion.
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