Halliday Sutherland

"A born writer, especially a born story-teller. Dr. Sutherland, who is distinguished in medicine, is an amateur in the sense that he only writes when he has nothing better to do. But when he does, it could hardly be done better." G.K. Chesterton.

Book: Exterminating Poverty: The true story of the eugenic plan to get rid of the poor and the Scottish doctor who fought against it.

Exterminating Poverty is the true story about the 1921 eugenic plan to get rid of the poor, and the Scottish doctor who fought against it. It book is available for sale on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and amazon.com.au.

Three elements set the conflict in motion:

  • Tuberculosis (TB) – an infectious disease that killed 70,000 Britons each year, mostly among the poor (50,000 died from Consumption or TB of the lungs);
  • Eugenics – a pseudo-science whose adherents believed that Consumption was caused primarily by the defective heredity of its victims, and
  • The heartless eugenicists who saw TB as beneficial for Britain because it did a rough but effective job of killing the so-called “unfit”.

It was at that point that a eugenic clinic was opened in a poor part of London that aimed to get rid of poverty by breeding out the poor. While the founder dispensed her “Prorace” (and later “Racial”) brand contraceptives to the poor women who wanted them, she campaigned for the compulsory sterilization of the poor women (and men) who did not.

Dr Halliday Sutherland attacked the clinic. He received a writ for libel from its founder, Dr Marie Stopes.

To a contemporary reader, it perhaps sounds easy… after all, who would be in favour of eugenics? Yet the list included most of the most eminent persons of the era: John Maynard Keynes, Bertrand Russell, Sir James Barr, Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, G.B. Shaw, H.G. Wells., Karl Pearson (Professor of Eugenics at University College, London), the Rt Hon George Roberts M.P., the Lady Constance Lytton and, if Stopes herself is to be believed, Prime Minister Lloyd George.

Exterminating Poverty tells the true story of Dr Halliday Sutherland’s fight against the “settled science” of his era.

3 comments on “Book: Exterminating Poverty: The true story of the eugenic plan to get rid of the poor and the Scottish doctor who fought against it.

  1. W. Peter Gadsby
    15 October 2020

    Just purchased the e-book on Kindle, and looking forward to reading it.

    • markhsutherland
      15 October 2020

      Thank you. It is gratifying that the story is coming to the attention of a wider audience in time for the centenary of the opening of the Mothers’ Clinic on 17 March 2021 and of the trial on 21 February 2023. I hope you enjoy the book and if you do, please leave a review on Amazon. It really helps other readers to find the book.

  2. Lyndy
    12 January 2022

    It’s still relevant today if you substitute COVID for TB 🙁

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Centenary of the Stopes v. Sutherland libel trial

21 February 2023
4 months to go.
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