I go over how mandatory inoculation laws lead to great atrocities.
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How Mandatory Inoculation Laws Led to 70,000 Americans Being Forcibly Sterilized
Many people do not know that, at the turn of the 20th century, the Eugenics movement had a strong hold in American academia.
The movement was centered around the idea that human beings should be genetically controlled to produce the fittest offspring and that those with inferior traits should be kept from reproducing.
The backdrop to the government’s involvement with Eugenics on the legal front was grounded from a case on mandatory inoculations called Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11.
In 1902, the Board of Health of the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, adopted a regulation that all inhabitants of the city who had not been given a smallpox shot must be given one.
This regulation came pursuant to Massachusetts law that required those aged 21 and older to comply with mandatory inoculation laws, or forfeit five dollars, which, adjusted for inflation, amounts to roughly $160.00 in today’s market.
Cambridge pastor Henning Jacobson refused the shot because of a past bad experience and his observation that his own son had a bad reaction with prolonged symptoms.
He was fined the 5 dollars and he sued all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the Massachusetts law as being “unreasonable, arbitrary, and oppressive."
Justice John Marshall Harlan delivered the decision for a 7–2 majority saying that the law did not violate the 14th amendment and that the police power of the state included the power to create "health laws of every description.”
Justice Harlan reiterated from a prior case that, “persons and property are subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the State…”
As you can see, the court in Jacobson focused on subverting individual liberty in the name of an ambiguous comfort, health, and prosperity of the State.
And, not only did the court prioritize collective abstractions of “state health,” they did so on a flimsy basis of “common belief,” that is, only requiring a “common belief” that the intervention worked, not a substantiation by scientific fact.
Justice Harlan noted: "A common belief, like common knowledge, does not require evidence to establish its existence, but may be acted upon without proof by the legislature and the courts…
The possibility that the belief may be wrong, and that science may yet show it to be wrong, is not conclusive, for the legislature has the right to pass laws which, according to the common belief of the people, are adapted to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.”
This mentality of upending individual rights in the name of “common belief” created the groundwork that later permitted forcible sterilizations of some 70,000 Americans.
In 1927, the case of Buck v. Bell came across the Supreme Court’s docket and the rationale from Jacobson would be used to commit atrocities.
Carrie Buck, the then 20-year-old plaintiff, was described as a feeble-minded woman with epilepsy. The Virginia Superintendent of the State Colony of Epileptics and Feeble Minded wanted to perform a salpingectomy on Carrie, that is, removing both of her fallopian tubes.
The case made its way to the Supreme Court where Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes claimed that forcible sterilization was necessary to protect the health and welfare of society and the state.
“The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
And with that, Carrie was sterilized, and forcible sterilizations continued in America up through 1979 because certain people were deemed unfit to procreate.
Among the more than 70,000 victims, 22 percent were African Americans and two-thirds were women.
Many of the victims were not even told what was being done to their bodies and were, instead, lied to about their operation to hide the sterilization.
What is especially scary is that Buck v. Bell has never been directly overturned at the Federal Supreme Court level.
While the case of Skinner v. Oklahoma in 1942 did outlaw forcible sterilization of criminals under the grounds of “cruel and unusual punishment,” and other state legislatures have since rejected compulsory sterilization, Buck v. Bell still technically stands.
It’s a reminder that when people’s right to bodily autonomy is not respected, all kinds of excuses can be made to commit atrocities via the collectivist manipulation of “public health.”
It’s not a slippery slope fallacy.
The slope is the reality.
Jacobson v. Massachusetts Case
Jacobson v. Massachusetts wiki
Buck v. Bell Case
Buck v. Bell Wiki
Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924
A SHAMEFUL HISTORY: EUGENICS IN VIRGINIA
The Supreme Court Ruling That Led To 70,000 Forced Sterilizations
The Right to Self-Determination: Freedom from Involuntary Sterilization
Buck v. Bell (1927)