You don’t have to read the whole book on right-to-life by Supreme Court Justice-in-waiting Neil Gorsuch; Vox has done it for you. And the issue turns out to be not nearly as simple as proponents on either side of the argument would have it. Take a look. The first two paragraphs below are from Gorsuch’s book, and the third is from Vox.
Clarence Darrow of Scopes Monkey fame proclaimed, “Chloroform unfit children. Show them the same mercy that is shown beasts that are no longer fit to live.” Novelist Sherwood Anderson and physician Abraham Wolbarst, two future members of the Euthanasia Society of America, openly argued that society had a duty to kill those with defects because they unnecessarily drained community resources.
Madison Grant, a New York attorney and Yale Law graduate who also served as a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History and cofounded the American Eugenics Society, proclaimed that “[t]he laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit and [a] human is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race.”… In 1939 Ann Mitchell, an ESA cofounder, welcomed the advent of World War II as a “biological house cleaning.” She counseled “euthanasia as a war measure, including euthanasia for the insane, feeble-minded monstrosities.”
Of course, euthanasia did become a war measure, specifically for Nazi Germany, which launched the T4 program the same month it invaded Poland; about 200,000 disabled people were killed in various Nazi euthanasia efforts. And the effort was substantially inspired by American euthanasia advocates. Gorsuch notes that Adolf Hitler himself wrote to Madison Grant, describing Grant’s pro-eugenics book The Passing of the Great Race as “his Bible,” and stated that he had “studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.”