Fit to Be Tied: Sterilization and Reproductive Rights in by Rebecca M. Kluchin

By Rebecca M. Kluchin

Healthy to Be Tied offers a historical past of sterilization and what could turn into, immediately, socially divisive and a favored kind of contraception. using first-person narratives, lawsuits, and authentic files, Rebecca M. Kluchin examines the evolution of compelled sterilization of bad ladies, specifically girls of colour, within the moment half the century and contrasts it with calls for for contraceptive sterilization made by means of white men and women. She chronicles public reputation in the course of an period of reproductive and sexual freedom, the shift clear of sterilization and the way it encouraged many features of yankee lifestyles.

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Additional info for Fit to Be Tied: Sterilization and Reproductive Rights in America, 1950-1980

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Curtis Wood became concerned that a real decline in intelligence was occurring, very slowly, among the general population. Compulsory sterilization of the more traditional sort could not possibly reach such a large group. 55 The AVS understood that compulsory sterilization of those deemed “unfit” to reproduce for socioeconomic reasons could never gain public acceptance; the target population was simply too large. But AVS leaders believed that they could persuade Americans that voluntary sterilization held the potential to resolve contemporary social problems, specifically those related to poverty, unwed motherhood, and dependence on welfare.

60 The organization formally adopted a neo-eugenic perspective with this final name change. The AVS aimed to make contraceptive sterilization legal and legitimate in the public mind. It hoped to loosen medical and legal restrictions to the procedure and in doing so make it available to the “fit” and “unfit” alike. ” In the 1950s and early 1960s, the organization downplayed the distinction between eugenic and contraceptive surgeries. Members held that it did not matter whether genes or the environment caused defective traits and behavior so long as individuals afflicted with these traits underwent sterilization.

And Alice Dobbs committed their adopted daughter, seventeen-year-old Carrie Buck, to the State Colony for Epileptics and the FeebleMinded in Lynchburg, Virginia. The illegitimate daughter of an allegedly feebleminded mother, Buck had become pregnant out of wedlock, and the Dobbses read her socially unacceptable condition as proof of her lack of reproductive fitness. The institution’s superintendent, Dr. A. S. Priddy, petitioned the state to sterilize Buck on the basis of her sexual immorality, “evidenced” by her 16 Fit to Be Tied illegitimate pregnancy and her family history of feeblemindedness.

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