This video was originally published by American Experience and Retro Report to accompany the PBS documentary, THE EUGENICS CRUSADE. Produced by Jill Rosenbaum and edited by Brian Kamerzel.
With every new advance in prenatal genetic screening, the ability to prevent suffering has also sparked difficult questions about what should count as “a disease” versus “a difference,” and whether we’re in danger of wiping out certain segments of the population. These fears arise, in part, because just 100 years ago, that’s exactly what a powerful movement—the eugenics movement—tried to do. So, what are the lessons for today?