South Carolina Governor Apologizes For State's Eugenics
"On behalf of the people of South Carolina, I apologize for decades of suffering and pain caused by eugenics," Hodges said Wednesday.
"Today, I want to acknowledge the great injustice done to more than 250 men and women when the State of South Carolina permitted involuntary sterilization for decades."
Between 1935 and 1985, South Carolina allowed mental health and prison officials to order surgical sterilization on people diagnosed with "insanity, idiocy, imbecility, feeble-mindedness or epilepsy."
Thirty-two other states and two Canadian provinces had similar laws on their books during the popular eugenics movement.
Eugenics was based on the racist belief that society would be improved through "proper breeding". The "science" behind eugenics was disproved, but not before more than 60,000 Americans were forcibly sterilized. Most were people with mental retardation and mental illness living in state-operated institutions. More women were sterilized than men. More blacks were sterilized than whites.
Hodges is the fourth governor to officially apologize for a state's eugenics past. Governors from Virginia, Oregon and North Carolina submitted apologies last year.
Reproduced here under special arrangement
with Inclusion Daily Express
disability rights news service.