Virginia – 2002
Gov. Mark R. Warner issued a formal apology Thursday for the state’s decision to forcibly sterilize thousands of Virginians from 1924 to 1979.
His apology coincides with the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Buck v. Bell decision upholding Virginia’s eugenics sterilization law, which became a model for other states.
Virginia forcibly sterilized about 7,450 people under the banner of eugenics, or selective human breeding and social engineering.
The practice continued until 1979. Last year, the General Assembly passed a resolution expressing “profound regret” for the state’s role, but stopped short of issuing a formal apology.
With the governor’s statement Thursday, Virginia becomes the only of the 30 states that conducted eugenics sterilizations to apologize. There are believed to be more than 60,000 eugenics victims nationwide.
“Virginia Governor Apologizes for Eugenics Law.” 2002.USA Today (Nation) May 2, 2002. <http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002/05/02/virginia-eugenics.htm> Accessed: November 20, 2007.