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STERILIZATION AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS An Overview of the Eugenics Movement.

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Presentation on theme: "STERILIZATION AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS An Overview of the Eugenics Movement."— Presentation transcript:

1 STERILIZATION AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS An Overview of the Eugenics Movement

2 History  During the 19 th century, sterilization was a common “remedy for feeblemindedness.” Castration and removal of the ovaries were the initial methods used for sterilization. Vasectomy and salpingectomy (fallopian tube removal) then became popular because the procedures were “simple and cheap.”  In 1907, the first involuntary sterilization law in the country was enacted. By 1911, California, Connecticut, and New Jersey had sterilization laws. By 1930, a total of 33 states had enacted such laws.  Thousands of men and women in institutions have been involuntarily sterilized and deprived of fundamental rights. 

3 Buck v. Bell 274 U.S. 200 (1927)  Carrie Buck was 18 years old and incarcerated in the Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feeble Minded at the time of her “trial” for sterilization.  In upholding a Virginia law allowing sterilization, the court noted that “Carrie Buck is the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring [and] that she may be sexually sterilized without detriment to her general health and that her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization.”  Due process and equal protection arguments failed in the case of Carrie Buck. 

4 Skinner v. Oklahoma 316 U.S. 535 (1942)  The client was convicted in 1926 of stealing chickens and was sentenced to the Oklahoma State Reformatory. He was subsequently convicted of robbery.  An Oklahoma law allowed sterilization of “habitual criminals.”  The U.S. Supreme Court found the law to be unconstitutional and stated, “the power to sterilize, if exercised, may have subtle, far reaching and devastating effects. Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.”

5 Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court established a fundamental right of privacy which would which would almost certainly also prevent compulsory sterilization. The case involved a Texas criminal abortion law. criminal abortion law.  court=US&vol=410&invol=113 court=US&vol=410&invol=113 court=US&vol=410&invol=113

6 A Dark Part of Human History  California’s history of “shameful science”  California apologizes for the sterilization of 20,000 Californians ,1249,51 0040386,00.html,1249,51 0040386,00.html,1249,51 0040386,00.html

7 California Probate Code Section 1950-1969  The Legislature recognizes that the right to exercise choice over matters of procreation is fundamental and may not be denied to an individual on the basis of disability.  It is the intent of the Legislature that no individual shall be sterilized solely by reason of a developmental disability and that no individual who knowingly opposes sterilization be sterilized involuntarily.  ntents.html (CHECK Westlaw for revisions) ntents.html ntents.html

8 Voluntary Informed Consent  Consent to sterilization is a matter of free choice and will—not in response to coercion, duress, or undue influence  An individual is free to withhold or withdraw consent to sterilization at any time  Conservatorship for purposes of sterilization is governed by specific provisions of the Probate Code and not supported by this organization

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