Bioethics News

On a ‘Eugenics Registry,’ a Record of California’s Thousands of Sterilizations

December 19, 2016

(NPR) – There’s a grim chapter in American history that involves forced sterilization. And for much of this past century, California had one of the most active sterilization programs in the country. A state law from 1909 authorized the surgery for people judged to have “mental disease, which may have been inherited.” That law remained on the books until 1979. University of Michigan professor Alexandra Minna Stern has been working to identify people who were forcibly sterilized under California’s program. NPR’s Ailsa Chang spoke with Stern, who said this idea of eugenics was intended to “eradicate certain genes from the population.”

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