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Bioethics Seminar | Eugenic sterilisation in New Zealand: The Mental Defectives Amendment Act of 1928

Presented by Professor Hamish Spencer, Department of Zoology

In spite of New Zealand's reputation for being a social laboratory, the country was apparently ambivalent about embracing eugenics, notably never enacting an explicitly eugenic sterilisation law.

Nevertheless, the 1928 Mental Defectives Amendment Bill originally contained a clause providing for sterilisation on eugenic grounds.

I outline the history of the drafting of this clause and its subsequent failure to gain parliamentary approval, before suggesting possible reasons for this course of events.

I note that this narrative must also explain how close the sterilisation clause came to being enacted.

This closeness illustrates a general point, that the passage or failure of sterilisation legislation is an oversimplifying dichotomous view of different countries' eugenic histories.

Date Monday, 5 March 2018
Time 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Audience Public
Event Category Health Sciences
Event Type Seminar
CampusDunedin
DepartmentBioethics Centre
LocationBioethics Seminar Room, 71 Frederick Street

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