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Some Suggestions respecting the Care of the Feeble-minded under the Mental Deficiency Bill, 1913

  • A. R. Douglas (a1)

In dealing with any subject in connection with the burning question of the care and control of the feeble-minded, some reference will be expected to the second Mental Deficiency Bill recently introduced into the House of Commons by the Home Secretary. For the purposes of this paper it is unnecessary to do more than quote the Clause, which defines the classes of persons who are mentally defective and deemed to be defectives within the meaning of the Act. Taken all round, it is a much better Bill than its predecessor of last year, but it should be noted that in the present measure no allusion is made to the undesirability of procreation of children by defectives, or to any intention to penalise persons wittingly bringing about a marriage between defectives. These proposals, which were likely to arouse uncompromising disapproval, may be the less regretted, as their inclusion might doubtless have been instrumental in the blocking of the Bill as a whole. Their effacement, it is hoped, may do away with the opposition which is at present invariably evoked by any attempt to infringe upon the so-called liberty of the subject, and may also give opportunity for educating public opinon, so that in time it may be clear to all that the prevention of amentia can only be attained by life segregation on the one hand, and by the prohibition of marriage on the other. The promoters of the Bill have gone as far as they possibly could in the face of uneducated public opinion, and those of us who were present at the discussion of last year's measure in Standing Committee cannot but admire the courage and resourcefulness of Mr. McKenna in presenting the new Bill after the repeated discouragement which he had to face in connection with his first effort last year.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Some Suggestions respecting the Care of the Feeble-minded under the Mental Deficiency Bill, 1913

  • A. R. Douglas (a1)
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