Beginning in 1907, over 60,000 Americans were forcibly sterilized. These were people considered by scientists to be “unfit” — the mentally ill, the disabled, the morally suspect.
How could this happen? How could the law deny tens of thousands of men and women the right to have children? Throughout the 20th century, state legislators passed laws that allowed these surgical procedures. It was all part of the early 20th century eugenics movement.
Life of the Law invited scholars and public interest advocates to talk about eugenics past and eugenics present. This bonus episode is a follow-up to Sterilized by Jess Engebretson, first broadcast on the Life of the Law website on March 22, 2016.
Produced by Nancy Mullane and Jonathan Hirsch