Coerced sterilization is a shameful part of America’s history, and one doesn’t have to go too far back to find examples of it. Used as a means of controlling “undesirable” populations – immigrants, people of color, poor people, unmarried mothers, the disabled, the mentally ill – federally-funded sterilization programs took place in 32 states throughout the 20th century. Driven by prejudiced notions of science and social control, these programs informed policies on immigration and segregation.
As historian William Deverell explains in a piece discussing the “Asexualization Acts” that led to the sterilization of more than 20,000 California men and women,“If you are sterilizing someone, you are saying, if not to them directly, ‘Your possible progeny are inassimilable, and we choose not to deal with that.’”
According to Andrea Estrada at UC Santa Barbara, forced sterilization was particularly rampant in California (the state’s eugenics program even inspired the Nazis):
Beginning in 1909 and continuing for 70 years, California led the country in the number of sterilization procedures performed on men and women, often without their full knowledge and consent. Approximately 20,000 sterilizations took place in state institutions, comprising one-third of the total number performed in the 32 states where such action was legal. (from The UC Santa Barbara Current)
“There is today one state,” wrote Hitler, “in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of citizenship] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.” (from The L.A. Times)
Researcher Alex Stern, author of the new book Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in America, adds:
“In the early 20th century across the country, medical superintendents, legislators, and social reformers affiliated with an emerging eugenics movement joined forces to put sterilization laws on the books. Such legislation was motivated by crude theories of human heredity that posited the wholesale inheritance of traits associated with a panoply of feared conditions such as criminality, feeblemindedness, and sexual deviance. Many sterilization advocates viewed reproductive surgery as a necessary public health intervention that would protect society from deleterious genes and the social and economic costs of managing ‘degenerate stock’.”
Eugenics was a commonly accepted means of protecting society from the offspring (and therefore equally suspect) of those individuals deemed inferior or dangerous – the poor, the disabled, the mentally ill, criminals, and people of color. …
Thank goodness “we’ve” learned from “our” mistakes! Now the govt only wants to “help” us with vaccines and fake food! Nothing to see here …
Does anyone seriously believe the nazi’s lost WWII?