Monday, July 29, 2013

California's Dark History of Eugenics

A tough read, but impossible to ignore. 

"In the past, sterilization of vulnerable populations in the name of “human betterment” was carried out with legal authority and the backing of political elites. What current and past practices share is the assumption that some women by virtue of their class position, sexual behavior, or ethnic identity are socially unfit to reproduce."

"California was the most zealous sterilizer, carrying out one-third of the approximately 60,000 operations performed in the thirty-two states that passed eugenic sterilization laws from 1907 to 1937. Furthermore, unlike many other states, where sterilization laws were challenged in the courts, in California the sterilization law remained on the books for seventy years."

"Although it was scaled back in the early 1950s, the law was not repealed until 1979, in the context of another chapter of sterilization abuse. This time, about 140 women, mainly of Mexican origin, were sterilized without consent at USC/Los Angeles County hospital."

"From the late 1960s to the early 1970s, the leading obstetrician at this hospital maintained strong convictions about the need for population control, which he applied to women during and immediately after labor by coercing them into tubal ligations."

"Sometimes women signed a consent form under duress, other times they were not offered any consent form, or falsely told that their husbands had already signed the form."

(These population control nuts never start with themselves...) 

There was also likely a significant financial element to the story that should be told as well. It was no doubt, quite lucrative to perform these extensive surgeries, with the government paying the tab-the sky was the limit.