Saleeby was unsuccessful in stripping procreation rights from marriage, but the idea did not die, Margaret Sanger proposed exactly what Saleeby was talking about twenty years later, when she urged an "American Baby Code" in American Weekly Magazine in 1934:
Special provisions as to which it might be open to question whether they were primarily in the interest of the individual have been omitted, as for example Clause 50 in the earlier Bill, which prohibited marriage with a defective. There is, however, an amendment proposed to reinstate this clause in Committee, but the matter has not yet been reached. - EUGENICS REVIEW, 1913
Marriage without Parenthood
It is to parenthood on the part of the transmissibly unworthy that we object. Negative eugenics has no right to object to their living or to their marrying. This must be insisted upon. Hitherto marriage and parenthood have been regarded as synonymous or equivalent by writers on eugenics, and they have said that such and such persons must not marry, when what they meant was that these persons must not become parents. - C.W. SALEEBY, 1914
American Baby Code
Article 1. The purpose of the American Baby Code should be to provide for a better distribution of babies. to assist couples who wish to prevent overproduction of offspring and thus to reduce the burden of charity and taxation for public relief and to protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit.
Article 2. Birth control clinics shall be permitted to function as services of government health departments or under the support of charity, or as nonprofit, self-sustaining agencies subject to inspection and control by public authorities.
Article 3. A marriage license shall in itself give husband and wife only the right to a common household and not the right to parenthood.
Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit for parenthood.
Article 5. Permits for parenthood shall be issued by government authorities to married couples upon application, providing the parents are financially able to support the expected child, have the qualifications needed for proper rearing of the child, have no transmissible diseases, and on the woman's part no indication that maternity is likely to result in death or permanent injury to health.
Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.
Article 7. Every county shall be assisted administratively by the state in the effort to maintain a direct ratio between the county birth rate and its index of child welfare. When the county records show an unfavorable variation from this ratio the county shall be taxed by the State.... The revenues thus obtained shall be expended by the State within the given county in giving financial support to birth control....
Article 8. Feeble-minded persons, habitual congenital criminals, those afflicted with inheritable diseases, and others found biologically unfit should be sterilized or in cases of doubt should be isolated as to prevent the perpetuation of their afflictions by breeding.
Eugenics was forced to become "crypto-eugenics" due to the Nazis getting a little impatient with it and applying it to living people rather than yet-to-be-conceived people, but the idea of stripping procreation rights from marriage and having separate "parenting licenses" did not die, and now in the age of genetic engineering it has found a new strategy of redefining marriage to not include a procreation right by declaring same-sex couples to have equal marriage rights.
It is as important as ever to oppose eugenics and defend everyone's equal procreation rights, and to not allow procreation rights to be stripped from marriage. All marriages should be allowed to procreate with their own genes, and all people should have an equal right to marry. We should not ban people from marrying for eugenic purposes as the Eugenics Review advocated in 1913, nor strip procreation rights from marriage as Dr. Saleeby proposed in 1914 and Sanger echoed in 1934.