Sunday, February 03, 2013

VA will consider compensating victims of past mandatory sterilization laws

The Virginia House of Delegates in Richmond is considering a bill which would compensate victims of a previous policy of mandatory sterilization of certain persons that had been in effect from 1924 to 1979. The latest Washington Post story, by Frederick Kunkle, is here.  

The story concerned a particular man who had experienced epilepsy after a childhood accident, and was sterilized. 
  
In 2002, USA Today had reported Gov. Mark Warner’s belated formal apology, for a law that had served as a model in almost thirty other states, link here
  
Indiana had become the first state to introduce such "eugenics" laws in 1907. The idea of “selective breeding” and eugenics was actually credible in the United States then, as it would become so in Nazi Germany.  The Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh had an exhibit on eugenics laws back in 2007. 

The film below is called "War on the Weak: Eugenics in America" (10 min), by Liam Dunahay, and says that the Nazis built their eugenics laws around earlier state laws in the U.S.   According to the film, people talked as though "pedigree" had moral signficance.  

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