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Engaging in sex, becoming parents, raising children: these are among the most personal decisions we make, and for people with mental retardation, they have been consistently challenged, regulated, and outlawed. This book is a comprehensive study of the American legal doctrines and social policies, past and present, that have governed procreation and parenting by persons with mental retardation. It argues persuasively that persons with retardation should have legal authority to make their own decisions.;Despite the progress of the normalization movement, which has moved so many people with mental retardation into the mainstream since the 1960s, negative myths about reproduction and child rearing among this population persist. The authors trace these prejudices to the eugenics movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They show how misperceptions have led to inconsistent and discriminatory outcomes when third parties seek to make birth control or parenting decisions for people with mental retardation. And they explore the effect of these decisions on those they purport to protect.