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Eugenics, sterilization, and historical memory in the United States



ID: <10670/1.fqprpm>


From the 1920s to the 1950s, California sterilized approximately 20,000 people in state homes and hospitals based on a eugenic law that authorized medical superintendents to perform reproductive surgeries on patients deemed unfit and suffering from a mental affliction likely to be inherited. Working with a unique resource a dataset created from 19,000 sterilization recommendations my team and I have reconstructed patterns and experiences of institutionalization of sterilizations. This article presents several of our important initial findings related to ethnic and gender bias in sterilization policies, and reflects on the relevance of the history for contemporary issues in genomics and social justice.

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