Compulsory Sterilization Laws

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“Eugenics and Compulsory Sterilization Laws: Providing Redress for the Victims of a Shameful Era in United States History,” is an article by, Michael Silver, that addresses the issue of eugenics and involuntary sterilization laws. He specifically looked at the sterilization laws that were practiced in the 20th Century in the United States. Silver brings forth the argument that sterilization laws violate the constitutional rights of Americans of procreation and childrearing. Throughout the article, Silver explains the history of how the laws were created, practiced, and how they affected those that were involuntarily sterilized. As the article progresses, Silver gave examples of how individual states and the United States, collectively as a…show more content…
Bell. Carrie Buck, who was eight-teen, was institutionalized at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble minded. When she tried to challenge the law, an eight justice majority upheld the Virginia laws. Speaking for the majority decision, Justice Holmes suggested it would be better for the world to sacrifice the reproductive ability of people labeled “unfit from continuing their kind” than to waste time and resources later “dealing with” the offspring. Once the decision was made, a majority of the states that passed the sterilization laws were reflected those of Virginia. Due to the laws, over 60,000 Americans were involuntarily sterilized. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the sterilization laws began to…show more content…
Silver states that the determination that involuntary sterilization laws implicated the fundamental rights does not establish a constitutional violation. This would trigger the Supreme Court’s two-part strict scrutiny test. The first part is the state must justify the regulations on this fundamental right by presenting a state interest in doing so. Also, the government must be exhausted in achieving the statutory goals. Silver stated that a challenger to the statute could argue that the state asserted interests are pretexts for administrative costs effectiveness. Also, if the state does not establish the necessity, the action will fail because the procedure is not narrowly tailored. Sterilization places a major burden on someone’s right to have children since the procedure is most likely irreversible. People who want to challenge these involuntary sterilization laws could win but due to procedure obstacles and practical considerations, plaintiffs have a difficult time getting it to

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