Women were forced to be sterilized if they got pregnant out of wedlock. They accused these women of being feeble minded or worse mentally ill. Many natural mothers from the past were often put into psychiatry hospitals because they wanted to see their children. These singles mothers were often tied to beds and denied pain relief that we today take for granted. Sadly I know that my own natural mother was treated the same way.
I do not want my daughters treated this way in their future. It seems with time that we as a society are headed back that way. I as a mother am terrified of my daughters losing their reproductive rights to protect their own health. I plan on teaching my daughters like I was taught but not every one teaches their children that same way.
In the other article mentioned by Improper Adoptee, Louisiana Representative, John LaBruzzo would pay poor women and men to be sterilized. According to his proposal:
"Last week LaBruzzo -- whose day job is medical equipment salesman -- proposed kicking $1,000 to poor women to get sterilized. Statistics show the rate of unplanned pregnancies is on the rise among poorer women nationwide.
LaBruzzo, who later revised his controversial idea to include "temporary" forms of birth control, also suggested paying poor men to get vasectomies and giving tax breaks to college-educated, well-to-do couples who have children. (LaBruzzo is married to a lawyer and is the father of a young daughter.)"
So if you are wealthy and college educated, you will get a tax break where as the poor folks get a one time cash payment of $1,000. This reeks of eugenics. Who decides which human being is the best to carry on the genetic material of the human race? Will it be rich or poor folks? Will it be governmental officials or the common working folks? Will it the super educated or the illiterate?
So the poor are having more babies. Well maybe if we as a society provided more contraception to locations where poor folk can access it, we could reduce those numbers. If these families are able to take care of these kids, does it really matter how poor they are? Too often the poor families are targeted by Departments of Health and Human Services across this country.
Before we go attack the poor and less fortunate for their sexuality, maybe we should really look at the regulations of both adoption and foster care.
Certain folks would like to see it come back. If that happens, then what about forced relinquishments as in the era of mass surrender?
The Judge Says: Don't Get Pregnant. A Lapsed Law Now Sees New Life
Some old laws never quite fade away.
In a dark corner of U.S. history, a number of states ran forced-sterilization projects, in which women deemed unfit for motherhood were surgically prevented from having a child. The country's most esteemed legal minds blessed the programs. In 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Virginia law that authorized sterilization for a woman who, along with her mother and child, was "feeble-minded." In upholding the statute, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes concluded: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough." By 1935, nearly 20,000 forced eugenic sterilizations had been performed in the U.S. Feeble minded folks were targeted. These people were women who got pregnant out of wedlock.
Then, in 1942, the Supreme Court struck down Oklahoma's Habitual Criminal Sterilization Act, declaring that "marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race." Following the horrors of eugenics in Nazi Germany, the sterilization movement dwindled.
Yet in scattered cases, state regulation of reproductive rights remains a part of the legal culture -- now amid very different circumstances. Just this month, for example, a judge in Texas ordered a woman, as a condition of her probation, to stop having children after her daughter was badly abused. The order, by Judge Charlie Baird, is difficult to enforce and possibly unconstitutional. It reflects the willingness of some judges to push the limits of punishment in ways that hark back to a time before a series of landmark Supreme Court decisions elevated individual rights.
In other areas, too, the impulse behind a law can linger, in society and in the courtroom, long after the law itself has fallen into disfavor or disuse. For a long time, the state asserted control over who could marry whom. It was only in 1967 that the Supreme Court struck down Virginia's anti-miscegenation law, giving constitutional protection to interracial marriage -- and creating a broader social assumption that marriage in general was a private matter. Three decades later, many states still resist same-sex marriage.
Similarly, the rationale behind forced sterilization is making its way back into the courts in the form of no-pregnancy orders, in small numbers and often overturned on appeal. In 1999, after finding a mentally retarded woman guilty of neglecting a dependent, in connection with the death of her infant son, a state court in Indiana ordered her not to become pregnant as a condition of her eight-year probation. A state appeals court struck down the no-pregnancy condition, ruling that it violated the woman's "privacy right of procreation" and that the goal of preventing injury to a child could be served by less-restrictive means.
Yet a similar condition was upheld in 2001, this time as it applied to a man. David Oakley, a father of nine children, pleaded no contest to charges that he intentionally failed to pay child support. As a condition of probation, a state judge in Wisconsin ordered Mr. Oakley not to father any more children until he could show the court he was capable of supporting the ones he had. The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a split decision, upheld the constitutionality of the order. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take the case on appeal.
It's hard to feel much sympathy for some of the people involved in these cases. Felicia Salazar, the 20-year-old Texas woman who found herself before Judge Baird, admitted to failing to provide protection and medical care to her then-19-month-old daughter, who suffered broken bones and other injuries when she was beaten by her father. Judge Baird sentenced the father, 25-year-old Roberto Alvarado, to 10 years in prison. Mr. Alvarado and Ms. Salazar relinquished their parental rights, and the child was placed in foster care. Judge Baird sentenced Ms. Salazar, who had no criminal history, to 10 years of probation and ordered her not to have children during that time.
"Under Texas law, judges can impose any condition on probation so long as it's reasonable," Judge Baird says. Ms. Salazar "has a fundamental right to reproduce, so I couldn't order her to be sterilized. But she can be forced to forfeit certain fundamental rights." He adds: "I'm not even preventing her from having intimate sexual relations. I'm only preventing her from becoming pregnant."
Is the distinction tenable? Laurence Tribe, a professor at Harvard Law School who represented Mr. Oakley in the Wisconsin case, says Judge Baird's order is "tantamount to sterilization" and abridges Ms. Salazar's reproductive freedom as guaranteed by the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision affirming abortion rights.
There is also a question of enforceability. If Ms. Salazar becomes pregnant, must she choose among concealing the pregnancy, abortion or incarceration?
Allison Wetzel, the Travis County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Ms. Salazar, had agreed with the defense on probation -- but not on the no-pregnancy order. "I think when the average person hears a story of a mom who failed to protect a child, their instinct is that she doesn't deserve to have a child," Ms. Wetzel says. "But we don't get to decide that for her."