A Democrat running for a U.S. House seat in Pennsylvania wrote a 1991 book that calls for government sterilization of some mental patients, welfare recipients, alcoholics and parents of diseased or deformed children.
Steven Porter (search), running in the 3rd Congressional District in northwest Pennsylvania, said Tuesday the arguments presented in his book are based on hypothetical cases and only recommend sterilization on a voluntary basis.
Porter is running against Rep. Phil English (search) in a race the five-term Republican is expected to win easily.
Porter's book, "The Ethics of a Democracy," argues that the state has a right to sterilize people who cannot care for their children. It also offers sterilization as an incentive for immediate release of parents who are incarcerated for endangering their children, including by alcoholism or poverty.
"We're going to have to deal with these questions — that the right of having a child does not end with a parent, but there are responsibilities that people are going to have to have toward the children who are born, and toward the societies in which they live," Porter said Tuesday. "And I will stand by that."
English campaign manager Brad Moore called Porter "a dangerous radical."
"I thought this kind of thinking went out of style in the 1930s," Moore said. "Frankly, a lot of people died on the beaches of Normandy to fight against these kinds of policies."