Generally speaking, I’d say that the United States is not on most people’s radar when they think of eugenics throughout history. But we have a very sordid eugenics past here in America and I think it’s important to know where we’ve been in in this regard.
If you’ve ever got an hour and a half to kill, check out this August 28 presentation at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law on California’s eugenic legacy:
The description of the video on YouTube states:
For much of the 20th century, California was at the forefront of eugenic ideology and practices in the United States, and holds the dubious distinction of being the state with the highest number of eugenic sterilizations performed under the authority of law – some 20,000 procedures between 1909 and the mid-1950s. Coerced sterilizations continued in public hospitals into the 1970s, and it has recently come to light that in very recent years, women prisoners in California have been sterilized without their consent or knowledge. Today, California is a leader in research and services related to human genomics and assisted reproductive technologies. Speakers at this public event considered the long history of eugenics in California and explored continuities and discontinuities in the uses and misuses of genetic ideas and practices.
We’ve come a long way since the days of forced sterilization and institutionalization, but that progress is being undermined by the now standard procedure killing unborn children diagnosed with various diseases and disabilities.