|Eugenics for Alleviating Human Suffering
Beginning in 1962, about four years after Pauling's initial statements on genetic counseling, he promoted his first eugenics
agenda. It was straightforward and got attention. His ultimate goal was to decrease human suffering by eliminating the factors
that caused it; to this end, Pauling stated that molecular diseases, like sickle cell anemia, warranted legal intervention.
He suggested two criteria. First, a law should require testing for sickle cell hemoglobin in African-Americans. Secondly,
in an effort to eliminate sickle cell hemoglobin from the human population, marriage and procreation restrictions should be
invoked. Accordingly, if one heterozygote and one homozygous dominant (i.e. a person with normal hemoglobin) marry, then there
should be a limit on how many children they can have. If two heterozygotes marry then they should not be allowed to have children
because there is a twenty-five percent chance that they will have a baby with sickle cell anemia. Coupling chance with concern
for human suffering, Pauling advocated intervention from authorities: "This percentage [25%] is much too high to let private
enterprise in love combined with ignorance take care of the matter."
In addition to outlining the laws that he thought should be put into effect for carriers of sickle cell anemia, Pauling stated
that similar rules should be invoked for carriers of hereditary molecular diseases, including phenylketonuria, and fibrocystic
By 1968, Pauling got more radical and advocated two new tactics to reduce suffering from sickle cell hemoglobin: forehead
tattoos and abortion. According to Pauling, carriers should have an obvious mark, (i.e. a tattoo on the forehead) denoting
their disease, which would allow carriers to identify others with the same affliction and avoid marrying them. Additionally,
Pauling suggested that two heterozygous parents should consider abortion as a preventative method because the amount of suffering
caused by abortions is significantly less than that suffered by a child with a hereditary disease. It should be noted that
Pauling never supported sterilization, castration, or killing of inferior human beings.
Although Pauling's ideas were radical for the time, others held similar views. Nobelist Sir Peter Medawar encouraged legal
intervention and discouraged procreation among people with hereditary diseases by stating, "It is humbug to say that such
a policy violates an elementary right of human beings. No one has conferred upon human beings the right knowingly to bring
maimed or biochemically crippled children into the world."