Elaine Riddick says she was sterilized at the age of 14. The state of North Carolina said Riddick was promiscuous and didn’t get along well with others.

“I couldn’t get along well with others because I was hungry. I was cold. I was a victim of rape,” Riddick says.

This is appalling. It honestly brought tears to my eyes. And yes, this is my young white girl naivete showing, but I was completely unaware that these kinds of things ever happened in this country, especially in the 20th century. I hope these men and women take every penny they deserve from North Carolina. 

Thats why I’m still on the fence about Margaret Sanger. I think it makes no sense to try and draw parallels between the eugenics movement of the past, and the current work Planned Parenthood does for communities all over the country… but that doesn’t mean eugenics didn’t have an impact. But, apparently, pro-lifers only want to talk about eugenics when their goal is to spread anti-choice messages - not to actually tell the real stories of people hurt by REAL American forced sterilization policies. I hate the way issues get framed in such rigid ways…

Alberta, the Canadian province I live in, was subjected to sterilization through the Sexual Sterilization Act of 1928, which was enshrined in law until it’s repeal in 1971.  For 43 years, people in socially vulnerable positions were subjected to state terror for the purpose of protecting the gene pool.  The Alberta Eugenics Board enacted sterilizations on the mentally ill and disabled, immigrants of various ethnic groups (including the large Ukranian population) and on the unmarried, on women, and on indigenous people.  

It isn’t widely known, but Emily Murphy, one of Canada’s leading suffragettes, was a proponent of eugenics as a reinforcement for her nativist views.  Her abhorrent positions regarding immigration and her support of prohibition as protection against the erosion of white middle class values are too often glossed over.   

It’s srsly depressing how few people know how much eugenics was practiced in North America and Western Europe (not just Germany) and how ridiculously popular it was among elite classes here, or think that it all stopped after World War 2.