sterilization laws

  • In the 1930s, sterilization laws blossomed across the country. In Germany, the Nazis created their own law, modeled on American legislation. They ultimately gave Harry Laughlin, a leader of America’s eugenics movement, an honorary degree. At Nuremberg, they cited the Buck case in their defense. (Buckley 2001)
  • By 1979, states had sterilized some 60,000 people, not counting thousands of blacks and Indians whose sterilizations weren’t tracked by official records. (Buckley 2001)
  • As early as 1907, the United States had instituted public policy that gave the state the right “to sterilize unwilling and unwitting people.”  Laws, similar to Law 116, were passed in 30 states.  These policies listed the insane, the “feeble-minded,” the “dependent,” and the “diseased” as incapable of regulating their own reproductive abilities, therefore justifying government-forced sterilizations.  Legitimizing sterilization for certain groups led to further exploitation, as group divisions were made along race and class lines.  (Krase 1996)

references: Buckley, Stephen. 2001. “Human weeds.” St. Petersburg Times. November 11, 2001. accessed November 19, 2007.

Krase, Katherine. 1996. “Organizing for Change: Sterilization Abuse.” First published in the Jan/Feb 1996 newsletter of the National Women’s Health Network. Available online at the Our Bodies Ourselves Health Resource Center. <; Accessed: November 19, 2007.


~ by Serena on November 19, 2007.

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