Forced sterilization programs, also commonly dubbed compulsory sterilization programs, are government endorsed programs in which surgical sterilization are inflicted upon certain members of society-whether they like it or not. While forced sterilization programs still exist, the early twentieth century served as the undisputable heyday of compulsory sterilization. In fact, during this period forced sterilization was very commonplace in most corners of the globe, including the United States, Canada, and Germany.
Early forced sterilization programs were typically the byproduct of governmental eugenics ideals. So just what was eugenics? Eugenics programs were a form of genetic engineering which functioned with the goal of creating "a master race," with that in mind, anyone who did not conform to the standards of intelligence, proficiency, and anti-inferiority fell into the category of "off with their head," or in this case, "off with their ovaries." In some cases, the fear of overpopulation has been cited as a explanation for enforcing systems of forced sterilization.
How Does Compulsory Sterilization Work?
The poor, disabled, uneducated and most disillusioned members of society are the ones historically most exploited by the system of compulsory sterilization. Forms of forced sterilization advocated under government genetic engineering plans included steam sterilization, vasectomy, tubal ligation, and salpingectomy, which is the removal on a Fallopian tube. It is not uncommon for forced sterilization to occur without the permission, or even the knowledge, of the victim. For example of this check out the 1990 biopic, The Josephine Baker Story.
The History Forced Sterilization Across the World
Without question, the German Nazi nation boasted the most publicized system of compulsory sterilization. Between the nineteen thirties and the nineteen forties, Nazi Germany sterilized more than four hundred thousand people. Eugenics based forced sterilization programs began in the United States around the turn of the century and continued into the nineteen seventies. Approximately sixty-four thousand people were forceably sterilized in America during that period. Forced sterilization was also popular in Scandinavian countries. Six million people lived in Sweden between the nineteen thirties and the nineteen seventies and during that period sixty-two thousand people were sterilized. The Swedish government required sterilization to receive financial assistance from the government (welfare), being released from prison, or preventing the victim's children from government seizure.
Eugenics In The U.S
The United States of America even precede Germany as the first country to implement compulsory sterilization programs in the effort to achieve "the master race." And the Americans came with targets in the thirty-three states were forced sterilization programs were the norm. The mentally retarded, the mentally ill, the deaf, the blind, the deformed, and epileptics were all on the list to be sterilized. Prisoners were also at risk. Minorities, like Native Americans in particular, were often forced into sterilization without even knowing it while visiting the hospital for unrelated medical care. Indiana was the first state to place forced sterilization on the book in 1907, with Washington and California following suit in 1909. The system of compulsory sterilization was further legitimized by the United States Supreme Court of the era, the 1927 case of Bell v. Buck, the high court upheld the right of the Commonwealth of Virginia to forceably sterilize mentally retarded members of a Commonwealth supported group home.
Forced Sterilization With a Canadian Twist
Although forced sterilization programs in Canada weren't as popular as the ones in the United States and Germany, a couple did exist. Both Alberta Canada and British Columbia once implemented eugenics programs featuring compulsory sterilization as one component.