When California Sterilized 20,000 of Its Citizens

Postcard c.1910s of Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino
Postcard c.1910s of Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino

Alexandra Minna Stern, co-director of IRWG's Reproductive Justice program published a new edition of her book Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in America in December 2015.

In a blog for Zócalo Public Square, an affiliate of Arizona State University, Professor Stern shares findings from her latest research on eugenics-based sterilization in California "mental health" institutions during the early 20th century.

Her new findings reveal that "those sterilized in state institutions often were young women pronounced promiscuous; the sons and daughters of Mexican, Italian, and Japanese immigrants, frequently with parents too destitute to care for them; and men and women who transgressed sexual norms. Preliminary statistical analysis demonstrates that during the peak decade of operations from 1935 to 1944 Spanish-surnamed patients were 3.5 times more likely to be sterilized than patients in the general institutional population."

Read the full article here

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