Saturday, January 14, 2006

Against Their Will

Against Their Will:

"In his letter to Bush, Kessler wrote that governors in North Carolina, Oregon and Virginia have apologized for sterilization programs in their states.

Gov. Mike Easley apologized last month in response to a series of stories in the Winston-Salem Journal that provided details about North Carolina's program for the first time.

Sterilizations nationwide were carried out as part of the eugenics movement, which made exaggerated claims that mental illness, genetic defects and social ills could be eliminated by sterilization. In North Carolina, children as young as 10 were sterilized under a state program often characterized by coercion and flawed intelligence testing."

By the 1960s, the program was mainly targeting young black women. The North Carolina program sterilized more than 7,600 people between 1929 and 1974 and was the third largest in the country, after California and Virginia.

Three sterilization victims profiled in the Journal all said that a presidential apology is needed, as well as some form of compensation.

"It (an apology) would mean a lot, but also, what are they going to do about it?" said Nial Cox Ramirez, 56, of Riverdale, Ga., who was sterilized in 1965.

"My first take on it is that this is really something for the states to look at and the media to open up," said U.S. Rep. Richard Burr, R-5th.

"I'm not sure about any federal review of what went on, with something that was really driven by the states," said Burr, who added that he might feel differently if it turns out the federal government helped pay for sterilizations.

If federal money was spent, Burr said, a congressional investigation might be appropriate "so that we could get some kind of accounting for people on what did happen (with federal support)."

He said he thought that what went on during the eugenic sterilization movement "could not happen today."

Newspapers in Virginia and Oregon have also investigated their state's sterilization programs.

"I think it's just going to keep snowballing," Kessler said.

Before the president apologizes, Kessler said, congressional hearings are needed.

"They would have to be awfully blind or deaf or just plain out of the loop (not to know)," he said.

Victims are "scattered throughout the United States," he said.


Anonymous donna said...

I so enjoy reading your blogs, when I get the free time to do it, that is.
I'll copy this one to use later with our children. Thanks!

11:37 AM  

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