Anticipating the objection that these earlier sterilization programs were non-voluntary, state-sponsored programs, while today’s California initiative is both private and voluntary, I respectfully submit that it is itself spurious to offer a heroine addict her next fix in exchange for her ovaries.
A worthwhile point, but is it not one that we must deal with all the time? Are we really prepared to write off any possibility that an "addict" is responsible for her decisions? If she commmits theft in an attempt to satisfy her cravings, do we not still consider her a criminal? Moreover, what are we to make of the convenience store clerk who sells cigarettes to the tobacco "addict," the liquor-store worker who provides booze for an alcoholic, or the McDonalds employee who serves Big Macs to the obese?
But if we are really going to claim that "addicts" are incapable of choice, why is there no concern about the other choices such people must make--namely the choice to risk a pregnancy that will either be aborted or, if allowed to come to term, will produce a child whose likelihood of suffering from brain damage, HIV-infection, or addiction is very high? The choice to surrender ones ovaries has no victims; the choice either to abort a child or to bring it unwanted into the world does.
While not dispositive, or even ultimately persuasive, it may nevertheless be instructive to consider both the genesis and the final revelation of our modern eugenics movements.
Not only is it not persuasive, it is not even particularly instructive. Why arbitrarily choose eugenics as the point at which we mounted the slippery slope? Why not choose Darwin as the scientist that placed Europes Jews on the twisted road to Auschwitz? The fact is that Hitler sought and found justifications from all sorts of sources, including traditional Christianity. Whatever we might think of eugenics (and as a matter of involuntary state policy I oppose it), in an historical sense it makes no more sense to blame it for the Holocaust than it would be to blame the Church.