In June 1877 Charles Bradlaugh, a political activist and journal editor, and Annie Besant, a women’s rights activist, were tried for distributing material that was considered obscene through the Freethought Publishing Company. At the time, anti-obscenity laws prohibited the transmission of medicine or literature that discussed reproduction. The book that Bradlaugh and Besant published was called Fruits of Philosophy, written by a physician called Charles
In 1928 Ezra Seymour Gosney founded the non-profit Human Betterment Foundation (HBF) in Pasadena, California to support the research and publication of the personal and social effects of eugenic sterilizations carried out in California. Led by director Gosney and secretary Paul Popenoe, the HBF collected data on thousands of individuals in California who had been involuntarily sterilized under a California state law enacted in 1909.
In 1927, the US Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell set a legal precedent that states may sterilize inmates of public institutions. The court argued that imbecility, epilepsy, and feeblemindedness are hereditary, and that inmates should be prevented from passing these defects to the next generation.
A designer baby is a baby genetically engineered in vitro for specially selected traits, which can vary from lowered disease-risk to gender selection. Before the advent of genetic engineering and in vitro fertilization (IVF), designer babies were primarily a science fiction concept.