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An Image of GodThe Catholic Struggle with Eugenics$
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Sharon M. Leon

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226038988

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226039039.001.0001

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(p.163) Epilogue
An Image of God

Sharon M. Leon

University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the fate of the eugenics movement and Catholic opposition after World War II. In the 1950s, Catholics managed to integrate successfully with the larger American population while maintaining their religious traditions and community. The eugenics movement had withered away, and by 1960 there was a Catholic in the White House. For most of the nation, forced sterilization did not arise again as an issue until the 1960s and 1970s, when poor people of color were targeted for the operation. By the mid-1970s, the public face of Catholic teaching with regard to reproductive issues focused on the controversy over contraception and a vociferous response to the legalization of abortion in the Roe v. Wade decision.

Keywords:   eugenics movement, Catholics, forced sterilization, state programs, contraception, abortion

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