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Table of contents
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.1
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.2
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.3
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.4
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.5
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.6
FOOTNOTES
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.1
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.2
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.3
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.4
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.5
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.6
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.7
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.8
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.9
MARRIAGE-10.1
MARRIAGE-10.2
MARRIAGE-10.3
MARRIAGE-10.4
MARRIAGE-10.5
MARRIAGE-10.6
MARRIAGE-10.7
MARRIAGE-10.8
MARRIAGE-10.9
MARRIAGE-10.10
MARRIAGE-10.11
MARRIAGE-10.12
FOOTNOTES
THE ART OF LOVE-11.1
THE ART OF LOVE-11.2
THE ART OF LOVE-11.3
THE ART OF LOVE-11.4
THE ART OF LOVE-11.5
THE ART OF LOVE-11.6
THE ART OF LOVE-11.7
THE ART OF LOVE-11.8
THE ART OF LOVE-11.9
THE ART OF LOVE-11.10
THE ART OF LOVE-11.11
FOOTNOTES
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.1
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.2
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.3
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.4
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.5
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.6
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.7
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.8
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.9
FOOTNOTES
INDEX OF AUTHORS

 

There seems, however, to be a growing body of influential opinion, both in 

England and in the United States, in favor of making the transmission of 

venereal disease an offence punishable by heavy fine or by 

imprisonment.[250] In any enactment no stress should be put on the 

infection being conveyed "knowingly." Any formal limitation of this kind 

is unnecessary, as in such a case the Court always takes into account the 

offender's ignorance or mere negligence, and it is mischievous because it 

tends to render an enactment ineffective and to put a premium on 

ignorance; the husbands who infect their wives with gonorrhoea 

immediately after marriage have usually done so from ignorance, and it 

should be at least necessary for them to prove that they have been 

fortified in their ignorance by medical advice. It is sometimes said that 

the existing law could be utilized for bringing actions of this kind, and 

that no greater facilities should be offered for fear of increasing 

attempts at blackmail. The inutility of the law at present for this 

purpose is shown by the fact that it seldom or never happens that any 

attempt is made to utilize it, while not only are there a number of 

existing punishable offences which form the subject of attempts at 

blackmail, but blackmail can still be demanded even in regard to 

disreputable actions that are not legally punishable at all. Moreover, the 

attempt to levy blackmail is itself an offence always sternly dealt with 

in the courts. 

 

It is possible to trace the beginning of a recognition that the 

transmission of a venereal disease is a matter of which legal cognizance 

may be taken in the English law courts. It is now well settled that the 

infection of a wife by her husband may be held to constitute the legal 

cruelty which, according to the present law, must be proved, in addition 

to adultery, before a wife can obtain divorce from her husband. In 1777 

Restif de la Bretonne proposed in his _Gynographes_ that the communication 

of a venereal disease should itself be an adequate ground for divorce; 

this, however, is not at present generally accepted.[251] 

 

It is sometimes said that it is very well to make the individual legally 

responsible for the venereal disease he communicates, but that the 

difficulties of bringing that responsibility home would still remain. And 

those who admit these difficulties frequently reply that at the worst we 

should have in our hands a means of educating responsibility; the man who 

deliberately ran the risk of transmitting such infection would be made to 

feel that he was no longer fairly within his legal rights but had done a 

bad action. We are thus led on finally to what is now becoming generally 

recognized as the chief and central method of combating venereal disease, 

if we are to accept the principle of individual responsibility as ruling 

in this sphere of life. Organized sanitary and medical precautions, and 

proper legal protection for those who have been injured, are inoperative 

without the educative influence of elementary hygienic instruction placed 

in the possession of every young man and woman. In a sphere that is 

necessarily so intimate medical organization and legal resort can never be 

all-sufficing; knowledge is needed at every step in every individual to 

guide and even to awaken that sense of personal moral responsibility which 

must here always rule. Wherever the importance of these questions is 

becoming acutely realized--and notably at the Congresses of the German 

Society for Combating Venereal Disease--the problem is resolving itself 

mainly into one of education.[252] And although opinion and practice in 

this matter are to-day more advanced in Germany than elsewhere the 


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