Crimes against humanity

Shameful is right, and how many of the perpetrators considered themselves Christians?

State-sanctioned cruelty
From the 1920s to the 1970s, tens of thousands of American women, many in the prime of their childbearing years, were the victims of this country's shameful eugenics movement.

The idea behind eugenics was to rid society of its ills by getting rid of its “less desirable” citizens. (No shock, the idea was embraced by Nazi Germany.) The theory held that if you prevented criminals, the mentally retarded, the infirm and feeble-minded from reproducing, then those defective genes wouldn't be passed along to offspring. The goal was to create a society free of genetic imperfections.

Nearly two-thirds of the states established boards to govern eugenics. (Illinois did not.) North Carolina had a particularly aggressive program. As the Tribune's Dahleen Glanton recently reported, at least 7,500 poor African-Americans and whites between 1929 and 1975 were persuaded--most were duped into believing-- that sterilization was their only option.

In many of these cases, there were questions about whether women were involuntarily sterilized not because they were “feeble-minded” but because they received welfare, or had sex outside of marriage, or simply were considered unfit to bear children. Johanna Schoen, a University of Iowa professor who exposed the eugenics program in North Carolina while working on her doctoral dissertation, said many of the women battled depression. Some said the surgery led to other gynecological problems.

North Carolina has been considering reparations for these women, following Sweden and Alberta, Canada, which made restitution payments to women who were sterilized.

North Carolina has had a difficult time even identifying women who may have been victims of the state's eugenics program. Official records there have been sealed. Women have been instructed to place their names on a list with the state's Department of Health and Human Services. But the agency doesn't have the staff to cross-check names against a list of people who were sterilized under the program.

The office has received about 70 inquiries, but it has begun to look into only a handful of the cases and the wait for a resolution is several months long. The least the state can do is expedite this part of the process.

I wish I believed in a vengeful God who would send the perpetrators to hell. Just a disgusting display of perversions of science.


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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on September 19, 2006 4:52 PM.

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