During these decades superintendents acted with great impunity, aided by a geography of isolated institutions and legal statutes that afforded remarkable protection. Sacramento: California State Printing Office. This, however, did not deter hundreds of Mexican-origin families, who resisted the sterilization of their children more intensely than any other group (Lira, Stern, 2014; Lira, 2015). HHS After the horrific revelations concerning Nazi eugenics (German Hereditary Health Courts approved at least 400,000 sterilization operations in less than a decade), eugenic sterilization programs in the United States declined rapidly. 16 July 2003. [Pseudonyms used per CSA confidentiality agreement.] Available at: http://www.iupui.edu/~eugenics/events_Marker.htm.
NLM [ Links ], GUILLERMO, Emil. 2015. 10 This budget package can compensate up to 16 sterilization victims. [ Links ], ARGUMENTS… Arguments on Ruiz girl’s suit slated today. However, in accordance with the patient privacy and confidentiality protections associated with the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and with conflicting feelings of obligation and frustration, I direct them to the Department of State Hospitals’ Legal Department to pursue their genealogical quests. This simple act could attach a human face to the statistics and draw attention to the lasting, often harrowing, consequences of forced reproductive surgery. Disregarding the priest’s objections to Dominguez’s sterilization, Butler requested permission from Sacramento, which was granted, and this boy was sterilized the following year (Eugenic Sterilization Data Set, 1919-1953, Sterilization index card 361-4114). 1991. Senate, California Legislature, Regular Session. He believed that differences in a person's ability were acquired primarily through genetics and that eugenics could be implemented through selective breedingin order for the human race to improve in its … [ Links ], DYCK, Erika. From the 1920s to the 1950s, California sterilized approximately 20,000 people in state homes and hospitals based on a eugenic law that authorized medical superintendents to perform reproductive surgeries on patients deemed unfit and “suffering from a mental affliction likely to be inherited.” Working with a unique resource – a dataset created from 19,000 sterilization recommendations – my team and I have reconstructed patterns and experiences of institutionalization of sterilizations. In its more negative form, eugenics involved heavy-handed forms of reproductive control such as sterilization and mass euthanasia (Proctor, 1988). From the 1900s through the 1960s, both variants of eugenics strongly influenced public health policies and attitudes on local and national levels in the United States (Hansen, King, 2013; Paul, 1995; Kevles, 1995). The Eugenics Movement And Forced Sterilization In 1924, a 17-year-old girl was admitted to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. [ Links ], EUGENICS… Eugenics in California: a legacy of the past? 2012). 14 Also, Robert B. Edgerton email correspondence with the author, 27 Jan. 2004. In this sense, California’s experience differs significantly from that of Virginia and North Carolina. Sterilized in the name of public health: race, immigration, and reproductive control in modern California.
COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. Nine years later, Sara Rosas García, a widow with nine children, filed a Writ of Prohibition in the second appellate district to prevent the Pacific Colony superintendent from sterilizing her eldest daughter, Andrea. Sterilized by the state: eugenics, race, and the population scare in twentieth-century North America. USA.gov. Available at: http://articles.latimes.com/2003/mar/12/local/me-sterile12. Reflective of this pattern was 17-year-old Dolores Chavez, who was committed to Pacific Colony in 1941. Received: [ Links ], REMBIS, Michael A. For example, in February 2015 Virginia became the second state to establish a compensation plan for living victims of a forced sterilization program (Robertson, 26 Feb. 2015).
For the most part, these headline-grabbing apologies painted a stark boundary between our enlightened and ethically-informed present and a benighted past in which “pseudoscientific” theories with Nazi origins misguided health and political leaders.
5 For more on transfers from Preston and the Whittier reformatory to Sonoma and other institutions for sterilization, see Chávez-García (2012). | In 1931, Sonoma’s superintendent, Fred O. Butler, recommended the vasectomy of Juan Romero, who had been transferred from the Preston School of Industry, so that he would never “reproduce his kind, for we know from experience that individuals of his mentality should never bear off-spring, as they are usually defective in some manner” (Butler, 21 Nov. 1931). While eugenic principles have been practiced as early as ancient Greece, ... Adolf Hitler had praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf in 1925 and emulated eugenic legislation for the sterilization of "defectives" that had been pioneered in the United States once he took power. Yet, watching the disarticulation of families and the denigration of Mexican reproductive bodies through the lens of institutional sterilization accentuates how scientific racism was put into medical practice.
of such power should be accompanied by requirements of notice and hearing at which the patient might be afforded an opportunity to defend against the proposed operation. New York: Cambridge University Press. This kind of rhetoric relies on and reinforces a certain brand of hubris that can induce complacency around contemporary issues of social justice, reproduction, and genetics. In several states, persons classified as mentally retarded or unfit to bear or rear children were sterilized, sometimes at increasing rates, into the 1960s. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/26/us-usa-california-prisons-idUSKCN0HL07720140926. Third, preliminary statistical analysis reveals elevated rates of sterilization of Spanish-surnamed patients, most of Mexican origin. Report 2013-120. California has been home to similar activities. Butler’s petition was granted and the salpingectomy was performed in 1938 (Eugenic Sterilization Data Set, 1919-1953, Sterilization index card 361-4551). Many people are surprised to learn that in 1907 the largely agricultural state of Indiana passed the world’s first sterilization law, which authorized medical superintendents to sterilize people whose deleterious heredity appeared to threaten society (Stern, 2007). 29 Nov. 1930. August 2016.
Both separately and together, her father and mother “opposed sterilization on religious grounds.” They contacted the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles, which in turn wrote to Sacramento “verifying the parents’ objections to sterilization and stating that the Consul had taken the liberty of informing the mother that such operation would not take place without her consent” (Eugenic Sterilization Data Set, 1919-1953, Sterilization recommendations 122-0272 – 122-0277). In 1909, two years after Indiana and a few weeks after the state of Washington, California passed the third sterilization bill in the nation (Stern, 2005b; Wellerstein, 2011). Seven (Stockton, Patton, Napa, Mendocino, Agnews, Camarillo, and Norwalk) were designated as mental hospitals, ostensibly for patients with psychiatric conditions; the remaining two (Sonoma and Pacific Colony) were so-called feebleminded homes, where individuals were institutionalized based on their supposed lower mental capacity, often calculated with an IQ (intelligence quotient) score. [Pseudonyms used per CSA confidentiality agreement.] Access on: 30 Apr. 25 Feb. 2014. Systematically studying eugenic sterilization in California from the 1920s to the 1950s can help us understand, from a perspective of health institutions and human experiences, how laws and practices based on distorted theories of heredity produced patterns that no democratic society should accept today. 2015. [ Links ] EVANS, Meghann. Available at: http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/state-sends-second-compensation-check-to-eugenics-victims/article_9f5add55-cb37-5de1-be9d-270ff87f820d.html. Forced Sterilization Once Seen as a Path to a Better World. Against their will: North Carolina’s sterilization program.
Eugenic Sterilization Recommendations, California State Archives, Sacramento, California. 359; 1969 Cal.
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