The Shameful History of Eugenics in North Carolina

Yesterday NBC posted this story on a long-running eugenics program in North Carolina, which authorized the sterilization of people without their knowledge and consent. It includes both a heart-wrenching look at the victims’ stories (particularly that of Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized after giving birth to a baby conceived in rape) and a discussion of the political ramifications with the current state governor, Beverly Perdue. Unfortunately, NC is just one of 31 states that had such programs to prevent “defectives” from reproducing and the stories of eugenics victims in other states are not so well-known. In any case, the story ties in to our discussions about the importance of scientific thinking about the body and how it is used to justify intervention and alteration. While the stories mentioned by MSNBC do not included those people with physical “deformities,” it would not surprise me to find out that these people were also targets of these programs.

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