Compulsory Sterilization, State by State

Lutz Kaelber, a sociologist at the University of Vermont, has put together an impressive compendium of data on the eugenics programs of the 20th century, showing the time period that each state sterilized citizens, the approximate number of people who went under the knife, and other relevant information. Kaelber's page on North Carolina, for instance -- a state in the news earlier this year when it finally compensated some of the program's victims -- estimates that the authorities there did more than 7,600 of the surgeries from 1929 through 1973. The page also describes the places that either performed the operations or served as "feeder institutions" for the surgeons ("The Stonewall Jackson Training School was founded in 1907 and was North Carolina's first juvenile detention facility") and details some of the cases. For example:

Elaine Riddick...had been sterilized at the age of 14 by a state order in North Carolina in 1968 after giving birth to a baby after being raped. When she was operated on she was not informed that she was being sterilized. She only discovered this years later when she was trying to get pregnant with her husband. She was part of the lower class and the consent form had been signed by her illiterate grandmother and neglectful father.

There is a great deal of variety among the states; some, such as Arkansas, avoided compulsory sterilizations altogether. The whole site is worth exploring.

Elsewhere at Reason: We've published several pieces on these programs over the years, including this article by Nick Gillespie and this one by yrs. truly.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    Gotta figure that forced eugenics will eventually rear its head again as the technology becomes feasible and nations turn more and more to this neo-socialism or whatever the new total-state thing is called these days.

  • Tim||

    "We offered the world ORDER"

  • Pro Libertate||

    Nah, they'll be breeding down, not up. "Yours is the inferior. . . ."

  • Hugh Akston||

    It'll be a striated breeding program like in Brave New World. Alphas will run the various governments and government-private "partnerships." Betas will be party apparatchiks and office drones. Gammas will be entertainers. etc etc etc on down the line.

    Fortunately there's already a perfect Omega template in Episiarch.

  • ||

    I am the last one!

  • $park¥||

    Epi didn't come FROM a bottle, he came IN a bottle.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah, but it was an empty Colt-45 bottle he stole from a homeless guys shopping cart.

  • Almanian.||

    I hope he doesn't take one last sip - he gonna be PISSED

  • ||

    Well if it isn't on the ground, is it still onanism?

  • db||

    Violation of various environmental regulations might be the most likely crime to be punished this way at first. Make the punishment fit the crime, so to speak.

  • AlmightyJB||

    More than likely it will be denial of political dogma that gets you. I've already seen conservatism diagnosed as a mental disorder so can't let those people breed. Oh and libertarians, they're clearly nutjobs. They don't think there should be sidewalks.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Libertarians already do a pretty good job of selecting themselves out of the gene pool thankyouverymuch.

  • Brett L||

    Its just waiting in the wings. "We're not permanently sterilizing them, just keeping them from breeding until the social stigma effectively renders them sterile."

  • db||

    Default tubal ligations upon menarche. All part of Universal Health Care for Women. Fertility will be "opt-in" from then on, and doctors will be incentivized to selectively allow it.

    Paranoid ramblings?

  • Loki||

    You jest, but back during the birth control dustup when Obama claimed that insurance companies should just cover the contraceptives "for free" because compared to the cost of having a baby contraceptives were cheaper, I remember thinking to myself "Great, why don't we just mandate that all women must take contraceptives or pay an additional penaltax. Then if a woman wants to have a baby she has to file an application for a penaltax waiver."

    We probably should stop giving them ideas.

  • Brett L||

    No, sadly I'm not joking about the attitude.

  • nicole||

    How about we just stop mandating insurance cover something as uninsurable as childbearing and if we have to mandate anything, mandate a standard abortion-fee-level payout for unintended pregnancy? (And you can take it and do whatever you want with it, of course.) I am what, maybe one of like 5 people who thinks that's the best way to go?

  • $park¥||

    How about we just stop mandating insurance cover something as uninsurable as childbearing anything.

  • ||

    But Nicole, clearly no babies were EVER born in the years before insurance coverage of pregnancies was mandatory.

  • Enough About Palin||

    TotalState®

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Remember, Progressives support "reproductive freedom" only for upper middle-class White women.

    The rest of you can only produce zygotes at the pleasure of the most munificent, and omniscient State.

  • ||

    You don't really control people properly unless you control their ability to do the most primal thing they can, which is pass on their genes. Come on, people! This is basic statist canon!

  • Tim||

    "Three generations of
    Episiarchs are enough".

  • Almanian.||

    "One was enough. Three is cry to end this."

  • ||

  • ||

    What the fuck?

    For you, Tim.

  • Almanian.||

    "Dollars! Like in Taxes!"

    "Ah, yes! Dallas, Texas!"

    /Marx Bros

  • Tim||

    "Every beverage is grape when grapely perused."

    Deep.

  • Tak Kak||

    Probably one of the best cost-cutting government programs ever implemented.

  • ||

    I can't imagine the level of scumbaggery required to make you think it's okay to cut out a 14 year old girl's ovaries. Fuck the progressives right in the neck.

  • Almanian.||

    Oh, I can. It's the same level that says my daughter under the age of consent doesn't have to tell me she's getting an abortion, but I have to pay for a 31 year old bitch's contrception.

    That fucked up thinking runs straight to "sterilize the poooor and feebleminded...for teh childrenz".

    Man, people fucking suck.

  • TotalState®||

    "my daughter under the age of consent doesn't have to tell me she's getting an abortion, but I have to pay for a 31 year old bitch's contrception."

    That would be good in a campaign ad.

  • nicole||

    Yeah. And why? For being raped. Awesome.

  • SugarFree||

    If they didn't sterilize the baby at the same time, I'm not sure what the point of this was.

  • ||

    She was asking for it, nicole. Being female and all.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Brett L||

    Yeah. Don't miss the important part.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Not sterilizing her would have been racist.

  • ||

    Shut up, nicole. If you lie to us again, I'll spay the shit out of you.

  • nicole||

    Somewhat hilariously, it is now very difficult for young women to get sterilized if they do want to. We're just never able to make the right decision for ourselves.

  • ||

    Well, sure. I mean, women are always changing their mind and shit. And always yammering on about shit, you know?

  • T||

    Anecdotally, I'm told it's practically impossible. Almost no doctor will perform the procedure.

    But a vasectomy can be done on an outpatient basis.

  • sarcasmic||

    I once knew this welfare mom who said the state had had her sterilized so she could have unprotected sex without popping out more state dependent puppies.

  • ||

    Although after thinking about it for half a second, they would have tied her tubes instead of spaying her. This completely changes my opinion.

  • Jordan||

    Ah, the fruits of utilitarianism. Meanwhile, there's Tony who admits to supporting mandatory birth control and probably supports this but is too ashamed to admit it.

  • ||

    Tony is a sockpuppet, so it doesn't actually support anything except getting people to respond to it.

  • fish||

    And put a hand up its ass.

  • R C Dean||

    Forced sterilization is nothing more and nothing less than mandatory birth control. Of course Spacy Tony supports it.

  • Almanian.||

    And this subject always makes me think of the Beavis & Butthead when they're monkeying around with a chainsaw and decide to act out a courtroom scene that ends with them attempting to cut the member off a grasshhopper...

    "Do you have enything to say?"
    "The defense rests."
    "Bailiff? Saw off his tweeter...."

    *runs chainsaw down grasshopper and cuts Beavis hand*

    Man, I miss Beavis and Butthead.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I thought that was back on the air or something?

  • Almanian.||

    There were a couple new episodes this summer. I religiously scooped them up.

    It was like they'd never been off the air. EXACTLY like the old ones....

    Kinda scary, really. Loved it!

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, the new ones were even better, if anything. I think there are going to be more. From what I have heard him say, I think it is Mike Judge's favorite thing he has done.

  • Hugh Akston||

    King of the Hill was better

  • ||

    Meh.

  • Almanian.||

    Never watched it for more than about 5 mins. B&B was the pinnable of retard TV...and I was its target audience.

    Hey, wait....

  • Agammamon||

    Better - yes, funnier? No.

  • TotalState®||

    From Yesterday's WSJ's Best of the Web:

    Smallest Hailstones Ever
    " 'Hail the Size of Cricket Balls' "--headline, Sydney Morning Herald, Dec. 3
  • SugarFree||

    Elaine Riddick...had been sterilized at the age of 14 by a state order in North Carolina in 1968 after giving birth to a baby after being raped. When she was operated on she was not informed that she was being sterilized. She only discovered this years later when she was trying to get pregnant with her husband. She was part of the lower class and the consent form had been signed by her illiterate grandmother and neglectful father.

    Todd Akin disappeared into the bathroom with this book hours ago and people are starting to ask questions.

  • Almanian.||

    *looks on in horror...and admiration*

  • Loki||

    "Clearly it was God's will that her body didn't shut that whole thing whole down like it does in cases of legitimate rape." /Akin/ Murdouch mash-up

  • ||

    OT. I bought the the game Forge on Steam. I have an extra copy. Email me your Steam name and its yours. If your interested.

  • ||

    Nice try, government shill. You'll NEVER get my info!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • SugarFree||

    Mubarak, Mursi... maybe lay off the "M" names for while, Egypt.

    Oh, wait...

  • JEP||

    Moses?

  • Tim||

    Wait indeed. Don't want to loose your head.

  • T||

    Also:

    argument that the strength of the family, the emphasis of family systems of caring, mistrust in the government and reluctance to transfer authority to it, and emphasis on (white) citizen's rights, and a lack of strength of social progressivism hampered the establishment of eugenic sterilization in Texas

    Yay! A fucked up policy Texas didn't embrace for (some of the) right reason(s)!

  • Raston Bot||

    Virginia sounds like the worst of the worst:

    http://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/VA/VA.html

    Some lowlights:

    -between 7300-8300 forced sterilizations
    -conducted forced sterilizations as late as 1979 which is longer than any other state
    -the state in Buck v Bell was VIRGINIA (originally Buck v Priddy)
    -the father of practical eugenics Dr. Albert Sidney Priddy, superintendent of the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, pushed the sterilization of Carrie Buck to test its legality

  • Doctor Whom||

    Virginia politicans congratulate themselves on being anti-government, and nothing says "anti-government" like compulsory sterilization (or a sodomy law right up until Lawrence v. Texas, or a state monopoly over liquor sales...).

  • Agammamon||

    not as bad as the 20k+ CA did

  • Calidissident||

    California also has/had a much larger population than Virginia

  • R C Dean||

    That's Texas in a nutshell. Doing the right thing (sometimes) for the wrong reasons (usually).

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Totally OT, but I just had a Facebook friend post a link to something about Hilliary running in 2016, all excited at the prospect. Seriously? Obama hasn't even started his second term and we're onto 2016?

  • ||

    Poor Bill. He's like an old dog that gets dragged out to do tricks for the guests.

  • Tim||

    An old dog who, as soon as you get distracted, slips next door to hump the neighbor's poodle.

  • Brett L||

    OT: I'll be gone for the afternoon links, but if you haven't had enough of disgusting news, The Atlantic's music troll (the same guy who compared Taylor Swift's songwriting favorably with Leonard Cohen's) has a new column up on why Ke$ha is the last great rock star.

    But Ke$ha actively courts the dislike. Her voice, flattened and shrilled by the AutoTune software for much of her first album, is often pitched at a deliberately jangling register even when it's not being manipulated.
    Which translates to me as: chick can't carry a tune in a bucket.

  • T||

    From the same article:

    one which features a surprisingly beautiful vocoder solo

    These words all make sense individually, but strung together like that it's just a bunch of jibber-jabber.

  • $park¥||

    Fuck yeah! I'll be in my bunk.

  • nicole||

    OT: I saw LeoCo the day after Thanksgiving and OMG SO GOOD I CAN'T BELIEVE HE IS STILL SO GOOD.

    Highly recommended if any of y'all are fans--dude might be old but he played the longest show I think I've ever seen, and amazingly.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    You are from Chicago.

    You can't use y'all. It sullies the word.

  • BlogimiDei||

    A squat grey building...

  • ||

    Kind of a shame that Arkansas is one of the states with no sterilization. "Look how well THEY turned out!"

  • Agammamon||

    Well, one reasonably good mark for AZ is that we only did this to 30 people.

  • waaminn||

    Some states really seem to be on top of their game!

    www.Anon-Hide.tk

  • Travel Insurance||

    Very shocking that this was going on and also very scarey.

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