State-Sponsored Eugenics

Today’s Chicago Tribune has an excellent article on government-sanctioned eugenics programs that existed in many U.S. states until as recently as the 1970s. The article focuses in particular on 52-year old Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized without her knowledge at age 14:

After Riddick became pregnant from a rape, doctors on the Eugenics Board of North Carolina decided in 1968 that she was too “feeble-minded” to ever be a good mother and wanted to ensure that she never would get pregnant again. So doctors tied her tubes and didn’t tell her… “What they did to me was totally inhumane. Death would have been better because it would have been over,” said Riddick, who has battled depression. “This is a story that must be told. So I pulled myself up from the hole . . . where I had hidden for many years. And when I told the story, I could hold my head up high for the first time.” … “It was welfare reform,” said Paul Lombardo, a law professor at Georgia State University and an authority on biomedical ethics. “There would be no need for a welfare system if there were nobody in it. So they said, `If you let us sterilize people, we will cut your taxes.'”

Recall St. Paul’s words: “The love of money is the root of all evil…” (1 Tim. 6:10)

North Carolina had one of the most active and long-running programs. At least 7,500 poor African-Americans and whites, many of them welfare recipients, were tricked or forced to undergo sterilizations from 1929 to 1975. Throughout the United States, an estimated 65,000 people–overwhelmingly women–were involuntarily sterilized, Lombardo said. “This was really genocide,” said North Carolina state Rep. Larry Womble, who has fought unsuccessfully to get the General Assembly to provide financial reparations to 2,800 North Carolina victims believed still alive. “It cut off their bloodline and took away all of their dignity.”

It gets worse. Read it. And weep.

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