The Black Stork: Eugenics and the Death of Defective Babies in American Medicine and Motion…

Paperback | July 15, 1999

byMartin S. Pernick

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In the late 1910s Dr. Harry J. Haiselden, a prominent Chicago surgeon, electrified the nation by allowing the deaths of at least six infants he diagnosed as "defectives". He displayed the dying infants to journalists, wrote about them for the Hearst newspapers, and starred in a feature filmabout his crusade. Prominent Americans from Clarence Darrow to Helen Keller rallied to his support. Martin Pernick tells this captivating story--uncovering forgotten sources and long-lost motion pictures--in order to show how efforts to improve human heredity (eugenics) became linked with mercykilling, as well as with race, class, gender and ethnicity. It documents the impact of cultural values on science along with the way scientific claims of objectivity shape modern culture. While focused on early 20th century America, The Black Stork traces these issues from antiquity to the rise ofNazism, and to the "Baby Doe", "assisted suicide" and human genome initiative debates of today.

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From the Publisher

In the late 1910s Dr. Harry J. Haiselden, a prominent Chicago surgeon, electrified the nation by allowing the deaths of at least six infants he diagnosed as "defectives". He displayed the dying infants to journalists, wrote about them for the Hearst newspapers, and starred in a feature filmabout his crusade. Prominent Americans from Cl...

Martin S. Pernick is at University of Michigan.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 5.98 × 9.09 × 0.98 inPublished:July 15, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195135393

ISBN - 13:9780195135398

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Table of Contents

I. Witholding Treatment1. The Birth of a Controversy2. Contexts to the Conflict3. Identifying the Unfit: Biology and Culture in Eugenic Constructions of Hereditary Disease4. Eliminating the Unfit: Euthanasia and Eugenics5. Who Decides?: The Ironies of Professional PowerII. Publicity6. Mass Media Medicine7. Eugenics on Film8. The Black Stork9. Medicine, Media, and Memory

Editorial Reviews

"Pernick skillfully reviews the literature and propaganda of the early eugenics movement but more importantly examines the societal response to eugenics....the absolute best is saved for last with an eloquent discussion of medical decision making and use of so-called value-neutrallanguage."--National Society of Genetic Counselors